Connecticut Can’t Afford to Weaken Affordable Housing Laws

Regional Plan Association applauds Governor Malloy for standing up for affordable housing in Connecticut and vetoing legislation that would weaken the 8-30g statute. 8- 30g is one of the state’s best tools for addressing a real and growing housing crisis. We believe it is critical that Connecticut maintain a strong stance in its efforts to support the creation of multifamily and affordable housing in municipalities across the state.

This is not just about a moral imperative to do the right thing by creating more housing for more people in more places; it is an economic imperative for Connecticut, now more than ever. If Connecticut municipalities don’t create more housing for more people, they will continue to face shrinking grand lists and increasing property taxes. This isn’t a sustainable trajectory for individual communities, and over time it will critically compromise the state’s already faltering economy.

In preparation for the release of our Fourth Regional Plan this fall, RPA has spent the past several years doing research and engaging communities throughout the region to understand the challenges we face and create a roadmap that will guide us towards a prosperous future.

One of the most significant findings of our research is that the rising cost of living in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey threatens prosperity and quality of life for all the region’s residents, not just those who struggle to make ends meet. When incomes don’t keep pace with housing prices, the difficulties of living here outweigh the advantages, it becomes harder to attract and retain talented workers. People and companies leave. Our economy suffers. And of the three states in our region, this reality has hit Connecticut the hardest.

Over the past 20 years, housing costs have skyrocketed. In 1990, less than 25% of Southwestern Connecticut’s households spent more than 35% of their income on housing. Today, over 35% of them do.

Companies like GE and Aetna are leaving Connecticut for places with a mix of land uses and people. In today’s economy, companies are following talent to places with more housing choices:  apartments near transit, near work, closer to entertainment. If land use patterns in Connecticut don’t evolve to meet this changing reality, Connecticut will continue to lose jobs and workers as well as income tax revenue. And as homes on large lots far from transit continue to sit on the market longer and ultimately sell for less, municipalities will lose property tax revenue as well.

In this time of budget crisis and economic challenge, Connecticut needs more multi-family and affordable housing to supplement its existing housing stock, not less. We are very pleased that the Governor is taking a strong stance against legislation that would weaken the 8-30g statute.


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