"Smart Growth" : Study Reveals DEP Plan Eliminates Jobs - DEP Anti-housing Policy Will Slash 42,800 Jobs, $4.6 Billion in Government Revenue and $17.1 Billion in Personal Income

News Release, NJBA

November 12, 2003 – Despite reports that the “Blueprint for Intelligent Growth” (BIG) Map has been scrapped, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has stated that he will impose it by regulation.

Such a move will eliminate more than 42,000 jobs and cost New Jersey over $17 billion in income according to the economists of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington, D.C. In submitting its findings to Governor James E. McGreevey, the NAHB urges him to consider the detrimental impact of the DEP’s policy on jobs, personal incomes and the need to increase taxes to replace the $4.6 billion lost to state and local governments.

The DEP’s proposals will further complicate the state’s housing crisis, closing the door of opportunity to another 50,000 middle-income families who need a home. The department’s proposals will add more than $120,000 (roughly 25 percent) to the cost of the average new home in New Jersey, driving the average new home price to $483,247.

“This study demonstrates the costs of eliminating opportunities without concurrently creating possibilities” said Patrick J. O’Keefe, NJBA chief executive officer. “The DEP’s ‘regulatory strategy’ translates into families without homes and workers without jobs. Incomes drop and taxes rise when a regulatory agenda takes precedence over all other considerations.

“Until now, there were no analyses of the implications of the administration’s commitment to eliminating housing opportunities in New Jersey. These data recommend consideration of a more balanced approach, one that will address the housing needs of the state’s residents and the employment prospects of its expanding workforce,” O’Keefe continued.

“The results show that DEP has the ability to eliminate opportunity, stifle jobs and deny working families a decent place to call home. We hope that they will persuade Governor McGreevey that New Jersey needs more than DEP dictating where we cannot build, we need him to answer: Where will the people live?”

In just the first year after DEP imposes its new restrictions, about 14,000 jobs are eliminated, personal income drops by $849 million, and there will be $182 million less in revenue for New Jersey and local governments.

The study provides a statewide overview and also breaks down the economic impact of the BIG Map in each of the nine primary metropolitan statistical areas that encompass New Jersey. The letter from the NAHB president and the NAHB statewide report are available for download.



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