In conjunction with her State of the State address Jan. 10, Gov. Kathy Hochul released a 276-page book titled “Achieving the New York Dream.”
Calling this work a “book” is a bit of a stretch. It’s more like a term paper. Each page has wide margins, large print, and far fewer words than found in a real book.
But whatever one calls it, the proposals contained therein are a taxpayer’s nightmare.
“Achieving the New York Dream” is a compendium of ideologically driven schemes, that if implemented, would further accelerate the out-migration flight of upper- and middle-class folks.
One of Hochul’s plans, the “New York Housing Compact,” should concern every Long Island homeowner.
The governor makes the dubious claim that more people want to live in New York than there are homes.
Census Bureau statistics tell a different story. From July 2021 to July 2022, the state lost on a net basis 299,557 people. Only California did worse with 343,230 fleeing.
In calendar year 2022, a record-breaking 62,577 New Yorkers packed their bags and moved to Florida. In 2021, the number skipping town was 61,728.
And if taxes, regulations, utility costs, and crime continue to go up, the exodus will continue and there will be municipal deserts throughout the state with plenty of homes for sale or abandoned.
However, for the sake of argument, let’s go with Hochul’s housing assumption despite her faulty reasoning.
To increase construction Hochul would impose on municipalities “targets” (a/k/a quotas) “for new home creation on a three-year cycle.”
While municipalities “will have discretion on how to meet their new home targets,” the state will monitor them. When judging the localities, the number of affordable housing units built “will be assigned extra weight.”
To force the development of multi-family housing in neighborhoods near railroad stations, localities will be compelled to rezone areas around transit stops.
Big Brother in Albany will also establish a statewide database to track the progress of municipalities.
If municipalities fail to meet their targets, the state will override the will of the local elected officials and impose rezoning regulations. Town supervisors and mayors will be dragged before a state housing approval board and ordered to comply with Albany dictates.
Hochul wants to fulfill the longtime progressive dream: destroy suburbia.
The left hates the idea of people owning their own plot of land with a single-family home and a patch of green grass where they are free of the government’s watchful eye.
Progressives prefer large apartment developments where people are contained and can be monitored.
Remember the “Projects” built by that great Progressive social engineer, Robert Moses in the post-World War II period.
In the name of urban renewal, Moses bulldozed viable New York City neighborhoods and constructed high-rise apartment projects that have been mismanaged by the city and have turned into rundown, crime-ridden, dilapidated buildings.
Thanks to Progressive ideology, Urban Renewal became Urban Blight.
Fortunately, local officials have spoken out against the Hochul plan. Oyster Bay supervisor Don Clavin, said at a press conference, “We’re here to express outrage at Gov. Hochul’s attempt to take the suburban dream and turn it into an urban nightmare.”
North Hempstead Town supervisor Jennifer DeSena wisely pointed out that if the governor gets her way, the 300,000 new units that could be built in the next 10 years would “severely impact the quality of life” by straining local services and pushing up property taxes to pay for expanded government and educational services.
If Hochul’s “Housing Compact” becomes law, the winners will be real estate developers who make large political contributions. Assemblyman Jake Blumenkrantz put it this way, “This unprecedented proposal by the governor will now usurp [local] power and hand it to developers and special interest groups and Albany.”
The heat is on. I’m hearing from political wags that suburban Democratic legislators fear the governor’s idea may be the catalyst for a 2024 Red Wave that will sweep them out of office.
A comprise plan unveiled last week does not include the state board but maintains targets while offering more financial incentives.
Such incentives for localities, no matter how tempting, are always dangerous. Once addicted to them, Albany will add more and more conditions that will lead to state control of zoning.
No, Long Island’s state legislators must reject these ludicrous proposals to preserve municipal governments’ most treasured right-home rule.