55:14J-2.1. Legislative findings and declarations
The Legislature hereby finds and declares that blighted areas exist throughout the State; that one effective method of alleviating blight is to increase the supply of adequate, safe and sanitary housing available to persons of low and moderate income throughout the State; that the provision of an increased supply of adequate housing reduces the need for occupancy of substandard housing in blighted areas and thus facilitates the clearance or redevelopment of such areas; that the effect of the construction of new housing is not confined to the municipality in which such housing is located, and can and frequently does assist in the alleviation or elimination of blight in other municipalities within commuting distance of such new housing; that the New Jersey Housing Finance Agency was created for the purpose of increasing the supply of safe and sanitary housing affordable by low and moderate income families and has financed approximately 21,642 housing units already occupied or under construction; that all of the projects containing such units have required some form of tax abatement in order to make the projects financially feasible at rents affordable by families of low and moderate income; and that it is expected that tax abatement will similarly be required for future projects to be financed by the New Jersey Housing Finance Agency.
The Legislature hereby finds and determines that each housing project for low and moderate income families financed by the agency facilitates the clearance or redevelopment of blighted areas within the State and assists in the prevention of blight and accordingly should be eligible for a grant of tax exemption or abatement by the municipality in which it is located irrespective of whether the project is located in a blighted area or whether there is any blighted area within the municipality in which the project is located.
The Legislature further finds and declares that to finance its projects, the Agency has issued in excess of one-half billion dollars of its bonds to the investing public in part on the basis of the existence of tax abatement for such projects; that a recent court decision invalidated a resolution of the governing body of a municipality granting tax exemption pursuant to section 18 of P.L.1949, c. 184 (C. 55:16-18) for failure to comply with certain procedural steps, particularly the holding of a public hearing on whether conditions of blight exist in the municipality; and that many of the housing projects presently financed by the agency have received grants of tax exemption pursuant to municipal resolutions adopted without the procedural steps which a court has recently held to be required.
The Legislature further finds and declares that although the above mentioned case does not directly address the validity of tax exemption or abatement agreements for existing projects and although the tax exemption or abatement for such projects may be able to withstand any legal challenge, it is desirable and appropriate for the State to maintain the investing public's confidence in the agency's ability to repay its outstanding bonds in timely fashion and to maintain the agency's ability to market its bonds in the future and that to the extent that the agency should be unable, by reason of the unexpected nonexistence of tax exemptions or abatements, to pay principal and interest on its bonds now outstanding, the State would be faced with a claim for the deficiency pursuant to provisions of section 21 of P.L.1967, c. 81 (C. 55:14J-21).
The Legislature hereby finds and determines that municipal resolutions adopted prior to the effective date of this act granting or authorizing tax exemption or abatement in respect of housing projects for low and moderate income families financed or to be financed by the agency should be validated and confirmed.
L.1978, c. 122, s. 2, eff. Sept. 26, 1978.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016