Kim Guadagno and Phil Murphy – Plans and Planks for Affordable Housing

Kim Guadagno and Phil Murphy Agree About Critical Need for Housing Affordability but Differ on Affordable Housing Plans

On October 25, 2017, NJSpotlight’s Colleen O’Dea wrote about the “Governor’s Race 2017: Plans and Planks for Affordable Housing.”

The two candidates in the Tuesday November 7, 2017 election for New Jersey’s next governor are Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Ambassador Phil Murphy, the Democratic candidate.

New Jersey faces an affordable housing crisis with some of the highest rents in the country. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition‘s Out of Reach 2017 report, a household renting a two-bedroom apartment needs to make $27/hour to afford that apartment.

Writes O’Dea “The major candidates for governor share some basic views on New Jersey’s need to be more affordable, but do not agree on who or what caused, or at least exacerbated, what many advocates today consider an affordable-housing crisis in the state.”

Reporting on the 2nd gubernatorial debate, O’Dea wrote “Last week’s final debate between Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Democrat Phil Murphy, a former Wall Street executive and ambassador to Germany, highlighted the disagreement. Guadagno said New Jersey needs to “fix the affordable housing act.”

Murphy’s response: “This administration has done everything they can to kick the can down the road through the courts. They have taken money out of dedicated funds. ”

Guadagno protested those statements, but history shows Murphy’s characterization to be fairly accurate.”

“New Jersey has not had a workable statewide affordable housing process for 17 years and needs, by one advocate’s count, some 280,000 new or refurbished units to meet all the pent up demand and to house new households through 2025.” And while the development of 280,000 new affordable units across New Jersey faces some opposition, what do the candidates for Governor propose to do to meet this demand for affordable housing?

Murphy’s affordable housing plan includes:

  • Pledging to stop “diverting affordable housing funds to plug holes in the budget.” The Fund for New Jersey’s recent “Crossroads NJ” report on housing states that “$52 million was diverted last year alone. He also said he would expand tax credits to build new housing, though he has not provided more specifics.”
  • Expanding counseling programs to prevent foreclosures
  • Re-purposing foreclosed properties for affordable housing
  • Making “Living in existing homes more affordable by fully funding public education and providing incentives to boost shared services to lower property taxes, and to restore property tax rebates to some of those who have lost their rebates in recent years.”

And on affordable housing, Guadagno:

  • Does not have an affordable housing plan on her website but “Guadagno sees her plan to lower property taxes for some as one key way of making the state more affordable to those who own homes here, as well as attract others to consider buying in the state. Under her plan, Guadagno would cap the amount a property owner would have to pay in taxes for schools at 5 percent of income.”
  • Spoke at a debate about amending the Fair Housing Act.
  • Includes in her housing policy a plan to “Put housing where the jobs are, where the transportation” is. “We can do that by simply having a state plan,” she added.

O’Dea concludes with the reminder that “Neither candidate has weighed in on what the Crossroads NJ housing report deemed to be the first or most important step the next governor should take to boost affordable housing in the state: Adopt the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey‘s $600 million “Build a Thriving New Jersey” plan to build or rehabilitate more than 100,000 affordable homes.

Governor Christie has made the affordable housing crisis worse. He tried to eliminate the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and “diverted money from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is supposed to be used to build affordable homes and to pay for rental assistance and other non-housing programs formerly funded through the state’s general fund, as well as cutting or eliminating three other housing-assistance programs.”

New Jersey’s election for governor will be held on Tuesday, November 7.

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