What is the cost of affordable housing?

Dear Editor:

In 1989, then candidate James Florio told NJ voters there would be no new taxes but once elected governor, he called for $2.8 billion in new taxes, including taxing toilet paper, which outraged people. So, the governor decided to balance the budget by not giving out aid to municipalities for 1990 for six months. That lead to meetings in the state where I attended one.

I was surprised to find that the majority of attendees were non-profit church affiliates who received a great deal of state aid placing immigrants in cities especially urban areas like Jersey City and Newark.

I bring up this history because the city council has an ordinance requiring affordable housing, in which, we the taxpayer, will have to pay the taxes for affordable housing residents. Truthfully, the people benefiting will be the non-profits putting in immigrants over citizens. This is the story municipal government does not explain to its citizens when advocating for affordable housing.

Besides the state government, the federal government has been giving non-profits money to house immigrants and it is the reason why many churches advocate for immigrants because it helps their bottom line.

In 1990, Jersey City floated $128.9 million bond for the missing state aid. Not all towns decided to float bonds, Bayonne floated $10 million and Jersey City should have issued $30 million but instead went overboard. That bond was for twenty years but was refinanced and I am not sure if it is paid off since Jersey City recently refinance bonds again with a close expiration dates.

This is an election year and those running for government has an obligation to inform taxpayers about the cost of affordable housing. Affordable housing should not be a slogan or an ad campaign if the recipients of affordable housing is exempt from the tax burdens transferred to others.

The ordinance for affordable housing at the city council is March 24, 2021. If the city cared about the 5,000 people who went into tax lien in December 2020 similar to affordable housing residents, perhaps there could be less homeowners in lien.

St. Augustine of Hippo in the City of God said, “In the absence of Justice what is sovereignty but robbery.” The city council is our sovereignty but there is no justice for those 5,000 taxpayers in lien.

Yvonne Balcer