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Remarks on Receiving an Interagency Agreement on the Small Business Revitalization Program

October 22, 1982

Mr. Sanders. [James C. Sanders, Administrator of the Small Business Administration] Mr. President, I'd like to present you with this copy of the interagency agreement that has been made between our agency, the Small Business Administration, Steve's [Stephen J. Bollinger, Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Community Planning and Development] agency over here, the Housing and Urban Development Agency, which recognizes your new federalism program and involving the Federal, State, and local funds, along with the private sector, in producing new jobs, new opportunities over the next 4 years.

The President. Well, I thank you very much. This is good news. I'm delighted that HUD and the Small Business Administration have formed this exciting project with 21 of our Governors, one of whom is here, Governor Kit Bond of Missouri.

I understand that this program can create thousands and thousands of jobs and leverage billions of dollars, several billions of dollars of investment capital into small business, where most of the new jobs that we need will be created in this country.

Bill Verity, the Chairman of the Task Force on the Private Sector Initiative, has been looking into the area of how the Federal Government can work in connection with the private sector, and I know that he supports this effort a hundred percent. In fact, Jay Moorhead, who runs the White House Office on the Private Sector Initiative, and Bill Verity are going to report soon to the Cabinet on how the Federal departments and the agencies can become more creative in leveraging public sector funds to the private sector.

I also hope that the initiatives will stimulate States and local governments to find new and innovative ways to finance the new businesses -- and business itself -- without looking to the Federal Government -- those existing businesses.

And now I have another pearl, real pearl of good news for all of you on the country's economic recovery. Lower interest rates are the key to recovery, key to jobs, and the hope of all across America, and the Chemical Bank today has lowered the prime rate to 11\1/2\ percent, the lowest level in 25 months.

Just before our administration took over, the prime rate, as you know, reached 21\1/2\, and if you don't know that, you haven't been listening to me. That's the highest peak in more than a century. We've knocked down the punishing interest rates by nearly 50 percent.

For every family, whether their livelihood is in a farm or in homebuilding, auto, steel, or retails, this is the kind of news that brings health, security, and opportunity. When the prime rate comes down, lower mortgage rates and loan rates for consumers are sure to follow.

So, I thank you all for this. I think it's a fine step in the idea of federalism.

Mr. Sanders. Mr. President, thank you.

Governor Bond. Mr. President, thank you, sir, on behalf of the National Governors' Association committee on community and economic development, which had asked your administration to proceed with a small business economic revitalization program, we appreciate very much the next step in new federalism.

I can say that in our State of Missouri, as one of the States that will be participating in this pilot project with the National Development Council, we believe that we can use the resources that this will make available to help us in implementing new financing programs to provide jobs. And that, of course, is our great need right now.

The falling interest rate is probably the best news that we can have for jobs, but to know that we can work with Housing and Urban Development on their UDAG and their community development block grant programs, and SBA on the 503 programs, means that we can coordinate the resources available from the private sector, through State agencies, and available Federal programs to get the most bang for our buck and provide the most jobs.

So, we look forward to making it work in Missouri. I assure you we'll do our best, and I know the other 20 States participating will make their best efforts to create the jobs that this program promises.

Note: The President spoke at 3:20 p.m. at the ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House.