Mayors and recession

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

BIG CITIES and small towns alike across the country are beset by many of the same problems: deteriorating infrastructures, crime, weak to dying economies.

All of the candidates, including President Bush, talk about the need to create "jobs, jobs, jobs" in general terms. But little is said specifically about the need to revitalize the economies of the cities and small towns.

Enter the nation's mayors. They have a plan they say would create 280,500 jobs this year and help lift the nation out of recession. All that is needed, they say, is $8.6 billion of federal money. . . .

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has produced a ready-made list of 4,543 "ready-to-go" public works projects.

The mayors' proposal would appear to be a natural for Democrats in search of a potent issue in this election year. But such does not seem to be the case.

Consider the response of Democratic Rep. Leon Panetta of California, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Savings from cuts in the defense budget that might be used to finance the mayors' projects would be slow to accumulate, he said. He suggested that probably little federal help for the cities will be available this year.

Well, how about next year, or the year after that? As usual, the mayors and the millions of voters they represent are getting short shrift from Washington.

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