The Council on Affordable Housing is an awful problem in the state of New Jersey and its elimination is near the top of Governor Christie’s to do list for his first term. Unfortunately the Assembly Democrats have attempted to seize the issue in their own special way, by eliminating COAH, since thats what the people of New Jersey overwhelmingly support, but then replacing it with impossible quotas that municipalities will constantly struggle to meet, especially under Cap 2.0. The Democrats seeks to complete this “reform” in the name of affordable housing, which as one Republican Assembly put it, is simply a fashionable way to say “subsidized housing.”
During the floor debate, the bills sponsor, Assemblyman Jerry Green, attacked Republicans against the measure asking if they were for the elimination of affordable housing in New Jersey. Clearly his goal is not to win over the Republicans with logic, but to instead frame the debate and pick up a soundbite or an out of context quote that can be used in campaign advertisements in 2011. Just as COAH was never actually about affordable house, neither would this new quota based measure. Instead the goal is wealth redistribution and state level control of a vast amount of municipal funds and land use. It is a waste of time and Trenton has no business pushing it.
By acting as a development manager for local governments the state is simply putting another burden on municipal governments, and on taxpayers. The elections in 2009 and 2010 were a rejection of this type of thinking and these types of policies. As long as the Democrats continue to show that they simply do not get it, they will continue to fall seat by seat back into the minority. Its time that Trenton leaves important issues like housing to what works best: THE MARKET!
Unfortunately the measure passed the Assembly yesterday, right down party lines 43-32. But this should be a surprise to no one, and it certainly is not to me. One party gets it, the other simply does not.
The COAH debate has raged on in this state for quite some time in New Jersey. Solve the problem, Save Jerseyans, post your solutions in the comments.