It's central planning at it's worse, and we have plenty of examples just how poorly central planning works.
It is not the government's function to build housing, and local governments are supposed to be run by the people who live in the communities which elect them. The state has no business telling municipalities to build housing at all, much less "affordable" or "low income" housing.
It is nothing less than unadulterated socialism.
And that's the idea, isn't it? That has certainly been the trend in New Jersey since John Corzine became governor.
He helped sell the idea to the electorate that an income tax would create relief from the high property taxes people were paying in order to fund their schools. The income tax was enacted, the state started collecting those taxes, and property taxes went up. The monies collected through the income taxes went to fund programs other than education, giving the state government inordinate control over the peoples' money while saddling them with a heavier burden many can barely afford to pay. How many more social programs were created with those extra tax funds? Will any of those taxes go to build that affordable housing? Maybe. But you know if the state does provide such funding there will be strings attached to them that will end up costing any community foolish enough to apply for them into doing things the townspeople will have to pay for against their will. It's a slippery slope.
It may sound like making sure towns build affordable housing is a good idea. But who has better idea what's needed and where than the individual towns and cities?
We have a problem here in New Hampshire with the lack of affordable housing for the average wage earner. During the last housing boom most of the housing built was for upper-middle and upper income buyers. Not much was built for moderate or lower income families. There wasn't as much money to be made from building that kind of housing during the boom, so not all that much was built. I have no doubt the same was true in the other states.
While demand for the big houses has waned, there's an untapped demand for low and moderate income housing. Starter homes, whether stand alone or condominium style, could open another avenue for housing. There are plenty of people I know that would love to own their own home but have been priced out of the market, even with the declining home prices. They aren't looking for big houses with a three car garage and a couple of acres of land. They want a place that has a couple of bedrooms, one or two or one-and-a-half bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and maybe a dining room. That's not much, but it means a lot to a family if it's theirs.
But this is something that should be done by private industry, not by the government. This should be housing built to be purchased, not rented out and/or subsidized by local or state government. The towns know where it's needed. The towns know how much may be needed. This is something that should not be decided at the state level. It is not something that should be “centrally planned” by the state. The last thing any of us need is a government mandate to do something many people at the local level already want to do. We don't need the socialist agenda to tell us to do something we're already doing on our own, and doing it cheaper and better than “The State” could ever do it.
New Jersey has made a mistake, and I believe they will end up becoming yet another victim of the Law of Unintended Consequences.