President Clinton has pledged up to $3.5 billion in grants and tax breaks to 106 distressed cities and rural areas. The money is to help them revive their economies and create jobs with local energy and ideas.

The communities were selected from among 520 that entered the government's competition to become "empowerment zones" or "enterprise communities" qualifying for extra help from Washington. The aid will be available over the next five years.The biggest winners were nine communities designated as "empowerment zones," six of them urban areas and three of them rural.

The urban zones - Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New York and Philadelphia-Camden, N.J. - will receive $100 million each in flexible social services grants, as well as tax breaks for businesses.

The rural zones - Kentucky Highlands, Mid-Delta in Mississippi, and Texas' Rio Grande Valley - will receive $40 million each in assistance, as well as tax breaks.

Clinton also announced:

- "Supplemental Empowerment Zones" in Los Angeles and Cleveland that will receive economic development grants through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Los Angeles will get $125 million in grants; Cleveland will get $90 million. These zones do not get new tax breaks.

- Ninety-five "Enterprise Communities," 60 of them urban and 35 of them rural. They will receive $3 million each in social service block grants and tax-exempt bond financing for businesses. Ogden is one of them.

- Four of the "Enterprise Communities" are "Enhanced Enterprise Communities" - Boston; Houston; Oakland, Calif.; and Kansas City, both in Missouri and Kansas. Each gets $25 million in economic development and social services grants.

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Clinton said Wednesday that the communities would use the federal help to leverage local dollars and maximize grassroots efforts to boost their economies.

"We have got to rely on the energy and the capacity of people to work at the community level, where, frankly, they work in a far less partisan atmosphere than we have worked in Washington, where people deal with human problems in a human way," Clinton said in announcing the program.

But Republican Jack Kemp, one of the pioneers of the enterprise zone idea, said Clinton's "rhetoric is familiar but the results are a rather pale imitation." Kemp, a potential 1996 presidential contender, said Clinton's plan was a "timid" proposal that would do little to stimulate new jobs or entrepreneurship.

"I think it's going to be very disappointing to a lot of people," said Kemp, a former housing secretary and congressman.

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