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Affordable Housing Battle Could Impact Your Taxes [AUDIO]

The state Assembly held a hearing Wednesday on the Christie Administration’s efforts to claim $160 million in affordable housing funds for the state.

Matt Cardy, Getty Images

How does it affect you? If the state seizes that money, your property taxes might be going up.

If the money goes back into the general fund, taxpayers will bear the burden because the obligation to have affordable housing remains and projects were planned.

“If towns lose these funds, they still have affordable housing obligations that have to be subsidized, which means towns will have no other choice but to rely on other means and that could include the property tax” said Mike Cerra, spokesman for the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

Under a 2008 bill, municipalities had four years to spend their trust fund accounts or lose it.

“I understand there was a deadline attached to these funds, but at the end of the day, we still have a responsibility to ensure there is reasonable housing for residents. So the question remains, what plan does the Christie administration have to provide affordable housing, other than taking funds away from municipalities to build such housing?” said Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset).

Cerra says the rules of how towns should spend the money were never clearly established.

“Its like being in the batter’s box and being called out without having a pitch thrown at you.”

There’s also pending litigation and three cases in court related to affordable housing.

Last month, Governor Chris Christie said there’s not much likelihood of success for the towns after the court denied an injunction that would have blocked the state from confiscating the money.

The affordable housing money was anticipated as a funding source in this year’s state budget.

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