Monday, June 23, 2008
LEAGUE RESPONSE ON PASSAGE OF HOUSING LEGISLATION
We are profoundly disappointed with the passage of A-500 and S-1783 today by the State Senate. The commercial development fee effectively relieves the commercial development community of its housing obligation, but since it covers only a fraction of the actual costs, taxpayers will be asked to pay for the difference.
There is simply no way the 2.5% commercial development fee imposed by A-500/S-1783 will cover the cost of housing generated by commercial development as projected by COAH. With no other funding or relief in place, local governments will have no place to turn but the property tax to fund the construction of housing.
It is also profoundly disappointing that now the State Legislature and COAH have both set in place policies that restrict local governments’ ability to comply with its housing obligations while increasing these obligations.
The League of Municipalities and the 566 municipalities that we represent support the provision of affordable housing. A-500/S-1783, however, will not result in the construction of affordable housing. By eliminating a compliance mechanism (RCA funding), by putting in place a funding source that cannot possibly provide enough funding for the construction of housing and by the creation of a new State bureaucracy, we fear that this legislation represents a step backwards.
Local governments will continue to comply with their constitutional obligations. Local governments and the League will continue to push for a rational State housing policy that provides more tools for local governments while providing funding that will actually cover costs. We can only hope that, come the fall, the State Legislature will revisit some of the issues left on the table today.
For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or cell (609) 915-9072.