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Thursday, June 5, 2008
Trenton, NJ

Today, the League of Municipalities (NJLM) and the Urban Mayor’s Association (UMA) both delivered statements in opposition to A-500 before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  Both NJLM and UMA have a long history of supporting affordable housing, sustainable planning and growth and economic revitalization.  Both organizations call for a long-overdue and comprehensive reform of the Fair Housing Act.   

While we respect and commend Speaker Roberts and the sponsors for their commitment to affordable housing, we must respectfully disagree with their view that A-500 is reform.   

The League joins the Urban Mayor’s Association in opposing legislation to eliminate regional contribution agreements (RCAs.) While some criticize this funding as an imperfect planning tool, these agreements have been used wisely by our urban mayors to promote home ownership, revitalize neighborhoods and promote economic development.  Mayors in our suburbs and rural communities have used RCAs, in conjunction with other strategies, to satisfy their affordable housing obligations while preserving open space and protecting our natural resources.  

Furthermore, the new commercial development fee is inadequate to cover the amount of housing generated by commercial growth.  While COAH projects 46,000 housing units to be generated by commercial growth through 2018, it also estimates that the commercial fee will provide 50% subsidies for 19,200 units in that same time frame. Absent an identified funding source, this funding shortfall will be pushed to the property taxpayers.

Affordable housing policy does not need to conflict with environmental policy, sound planning or have a negative impact on the taxpayers. That is why A-500 should be held, and the major stakeholders must instead craft a more viable solution.



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