Last Thursday, New Jersey’s courts told the Christie administration that it could not take as much as $200 million in municipal affordable-housing funds.
That was a blow to Gov. Chris Christie’s battle against the Fair Housing Act that specifies the state’s response to the Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel rulings, which require all municipalities provide their fair share of affordable housing.
It was also a blow to his battle to balance the state budget.
The Fair Housing Act specifies that municipal trust funds unspent or uncommitted after four years revert to the state’s trust to be used to build affordable units within the same region. Christie wanted the municipal funds to replace other money in the state trust, which would then help plug the budget gap. Municipalities and housing advocates argued he shouldn’t take the money because the state Council on Affordable Housing had never promulgated the required rules governing the spending of the money.