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Over the past several days, Gov. Christie took decisive action to weaken New Jersey’s economy by vetoing three important legislative initiatives to revive our troubled housing market.
Take it from the head of the NJ Association of Realtors talking to NJBiz:
According to New Jersey Association of Realtors CEO Jarrod Grasso, foreclosed properties – which are now hitting New Jersey’s residential real estate market at a record pace – “have been the albatross preventing true recovery in the state. . . . We’re hopeful that, though the governor doesn’t support this bill, that it will be called back to the table.”
That was about the New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act (S-1566/A-2168), which was supported by housing advocates, municipalities, bankers, special needs groups, and developers, to name a few. It would have reused foreclosed properties to create much-needed housing affordable to lower-income households.
Christie also vetoed bipartisan legislation (S-2011/A-2950), which would have extended the deadline to spend over $200 million in municipal housing trust funds by two years, and budget language which would have provided a safe harbor for municipalities to commit these trust funds rather than having them taken by the state for use in the General Fund.
Assemblyman and Housing and Local Government Committee Chair Jerry Green issued a statement expressing his disappointment and frustration with the Governor’s action stating, “The governor spent a good amount of time yesterday talking about helping the people of New Jersey. I’m not sure what segment of the population he was referring to, but it’s certainly not the working class families of New Jersey. Under this administration, they are on their own.”
The Legislature really stepped up to the plate in seeking solutions to New Jersey’s housing crisis, in which foreclosure filings have climbed 86% in the past year and are at triple the national average. Longtime champions of fair housing among the Democratic majority such as Green, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, Assemblyman Albert Coutinho, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman, and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg worked hard to craft innovative and important solutions to this economic problem, and deserve praise for bringing together a wide array of support to move New Jersey’s housing market forward.
We also were glad to see leaders in the Governor’s own party including Senators Diane Allen, Christopher Connors, and Robert Singer, Assembly members DiAnne Gove, Amy Handlin, and David Wolfe, and mayors from throughout the state recognize the need to take action to fix New Jersey’s broken housing market.
More below about what comes next…