Summary: S.1647 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1647. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (02/12/1998)

Economic Development Partnership Act of 1998 - Amends the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (the Act) to direct the Secretary of Commerce to cooperate with States and other entities to assure that Federal economic development programs are compatible with and further the objectives of State, regional, and local economic development plans and comprehensive economic development strategies. Directs the Secretary to: (1) provide appropriate technical assistance to such entities in order to alleviate economic distress, encourage partnerships for economic development strategies, and stimulate modernization and technological advances in the generation and commercialization of goods and services; and (2) prescribe regulations for intergovernmental review of proposed economic development projects. Authorizes the Secretary to enter into appropriate economic development agreements with two or more adjoining States.

Authorizes the Secretary to appoint a National Public Advisory Committee on Regional Economic Development to make recommendations to the Secretary, including regarding the coordination of activities.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to eligible recipients (defined later under this Act) for acquisition or development of land improvements for public works, public service, or development facility usage, as well as the acquisition, design and engineering, construction, rehabilitation, alteration, expansion, or improvement of such facilities. Provides assistance conditions relating to the establishment of industrial or commercial plants and the increase of employment in the area. Prohibits more than 15 percent of the appropriations made for such assistance from being expended in any one State. Allows grants to be increased due to construction cost increases.

Authorizes the Secretary to make direct grants for economic development planning and related administrative expenses. Requires such planning to be a continuous process and to be prepared as part of a comprehensive economic development strategy for the area involved. Requires State certification of an economic development plan's consistency with local and economic development district plans. Provides a Federal cost-share limit of 50 percent of project costs.

Authorizes the Secretary to make supplementary grants for a project for which the applicant is eligible but for which the applicant cannot supply the required matching share. Provides supplementary grant conditions and requirements, authorizing the Secretary to reduce or waive the required non-Federal share in such cases.

Authorizes the Secretary to make direct grants for training, research, and technical assistance for alleviating or preventing conditions of excessive unemployment or underemployment. Allows such grants to include amounts for relocation assistance.

Authorizes the Secretary to make direct grants for public facilities, public services, business development, planning, technical assistance, training and other assistance which demonstrably furthers the economic adjustment objectives of the Act. Allows such grant to be used in either direct expenditures by the recipient or through redistribution to other public and private entities, but prohibits any such redistribution to a private profit-making entity. Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) approve the use of grant funds for projects the scope or purpose for which changes after the grant has been made; (2) use funds for projects constructed for less than the projected costs to improve such projects; and (3) make assistance available for projects to be carried out at a military or Department of Energy installation.

Prohibits any assistance under the Act which would produce unfair commercial competition.

Requires reports from grant and assistance recipients.

Defines as an eligible recipient for purposes of this Act an area that: (1) has a per capita income of 80 percent or less of the national average or an unemployment rate one percent above such average; (2) has experienced or is about to experience a sudden economic dislocation resulting in significant job losses; (3) is a community or neighborhood which has a large concentration of low-income individuals, substantial out-migration, or substantial unemployment; (4) has long-term economic deterioration; (5) has a special need to meet an expected rise in unemployment; (6) contains a population of 250,000 or less with growth potential; or (7) is experiencing severe out-migration. Requires from recipients: (1) documentation of meeting such criteria; and (2) evidence of a comprehensive economic development strategy which identifies the economic problems to be addressed through such assistance, as well as related information.

Authorizes the Secretary, in order to plan and carry out economic development projects of broader geographic significance, to designate appropriate economic development districts and economic development centers within such districts. Provides geographic, population, and other requirements with respect to each such designation. Directs the Secretary to prescribe standards for the termination of such districts and centers. Authorizes the Secretary to increase by up to ten percent of project costs the amount of grant assistance otherwise provided in the Act for projects within designated districts.

Requires each designated district to provide to the Appalachian Regional Commission a copy of such district's comprehensive economic development strategy.

Authorizes the Secretary to provide assistance to a district area which does not meet the requirements of an eligible recipient under the Act when such assistance will be of substantial direct benefit to a qualifying area in such district.

Directs the Secretary to administer this Act with the assistance of an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. Directs the Secretary to serve as a central information clearinghouse on all matters relating to economic development and adjustment, disaster recovery, and defense conversion programs and activities of Federal and State governments and to help applicants for such assistance. Requires appropriate consultation with other persons and agencies. Authorizes the Secretary to furnish procurement divisions of the Federal Government with a list of business firms located in distressed areas which desire Government supplies and services contracts.

Imposes penalties upon persons who: (1) make false statements in order to obtain assistance under the Act; and (2) embezzle or commit other fraud-related crimes while connected in any capacity with the Secretary in the administration of the Act. Sets forth: (1) conflict-of-interest provisions; and (2) recordkeeping requirements for the Secretary and recipients regarding assistance under this Act.

Provides that assistance under the Act shall supplement and not supplant other Federal assistance.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1999 through 2002. Authorizes additional appropriations for defense conversion activities and disaster economic recovery activities.