Governor’s Reorganization Plan Supports State Planning Commission Mission
Positions State Planning Commission and Office of Planning Advocacy to Align Agencies in Support of Sustainable Development
Chris Sturm (csturmnjfutureorg) , Senior Director of State Policy (609) 393-0008 ext. 114 or (609) 213-4673
New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach today released the following statement in response to Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to transfer the State Planning Commission and its staff from the Department of Community Affairs to the Department of State:
“The governor’s proposal to move the State Planning Commission to a neutral agency, the Department of State, will place it in a much better position to fulfill one of its core missions: to coordinate the land-use decisions of other state agencies in order to promote sustainable economic growth.
“The commission and its staff must not only craft the vision for where and how New Jersey grows, but also resolve the sometimes-conflicting land use-related policies of other state agencies, including the departments of Community Affairs, Environmental Protection, Transportation and Agriculture. In prior administrations, state planning entities were hindered by conflicts between the host department, Community Affairs, and other agencies.
“In order to compete nationally to attract new industries and the knowledge workers they employ, New Jersey must offer great places to live and work with homes, commutes and lifestyles that are attractive, affordable and healthy. The state can advance this agenda, but only if it is able to focus its capital investments, programs and rule-making. The State Planning Commission’s placement in the neutral Department of State will facilitate this coordination.
“The reorganization announcement came one day before the deadline for the governor’s receipt of staff recommendations on the State Strategic Planning Process. The report will identify the ‘opportunities for responsible growth and redevelopment in New Jersey and create a strategic implementation plan that capitalizes on these opportunities by better coordination of … state agencies.’
“The proposed reorganization also includes eliminating the Council on Affordable Housing, a public transparent body with affordable-housing oversight responsibilities, and moving these responsibilities within the closed corridors of the Department of Community Affairs. In light of the lack of progress this administration and Legislature are making in addressing the state’s constitutional requirement to create housing opportunities for people with modest incomes, this provision of the reorganization plan is at best a questionable move.”