Taxpayers can’t bear the weight of COAH

Iwould like to commend Assemblywoman my Handlin and Assemblyman Sam Thompson (both R-Monmouth and Middlesex) for co-sponsoring a bill that would, in effect, abolish the costly affordable housing (COAH) program.

Gov. Jon Corzine’s recent budget … did not cut unfunded mandates like COAH.

With the economy and housing market in the worst shape we have seen in over 30 years, why is the governor forcing towns to sacrifice open space and build more housing? The cost to taxpayers to subsidize each COAH unit is a staggering $161,000. How are people supposed to afford their own property taxes and also be expected to help pay for other people’s homes?

In these times of outrageous property taxes and budgetary stress at all levels of government, it is important to understand the role that the affordable housing program plays in our present economic situation.

The governor has publicly stated that he wants to see at least 115,000 low-income housing units built in the state, with some estimates putting the actual number at nearly 10 times that. Using the lowest number, the cost to the taxpayers comes to around $18 billion.

Clearly, New Jersey taxpayers cannot bear the weight of these programs any longer. In fact, the most effective way to ensure that New Jersey becomes affordable for everyone is to eliminate costly, wasteful government programs and provide real, tangible property tax relief to its citizens. This would reverse the trend of people and businesses leaving the state in record numbers, which results in fewer people paying more taxes.

As this most important election approaches, I urge everyone to take the time to learn which candidates will support an end to taxpayer funded low-income housing and other costly mandates, so we can end the state’s distinction of having the highest property taxes in the nation.

Steve Massell