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Affordable Housing , Community Development , Homelessness

The Economic Impact of Exclusionary Zoning

15 February 2017
Partnership for Strong Communities (PSC)

Charles Patton, Senior Policy Analyst, Partnership for Strong Communities

The Partnership for Strong Communities is pleased to announce that Daniel Shoag, co-author of  “Why Has Regional Income Convergence in the U.S. Declined”, will join us as the keynote speaker for our February 24th IForum, Forecasting our Future: The Economic Impact of Exclusionary Zoning. His article explores how exclusionary zoning (i.e., regulations that limit the type of housing that can be built in a community) prevents freedom of movement between states.

The authors note that many residents in the Deep South, regardless of where they are on the economic ladder, can earn more moving to states like Connecticut. However, those lower on the ladder would spend disproportionately more on housing due to a lack of reasonably priced homes and apartments, which makes it impractical economically to make the move. This has several consequences for Connecticut, including fewer young workers and tax payers that could help alleviate the financial strain our state is currently experiencing.

Exclusionary zoning also creates a catch-22 for many businesses in the state. Members of the business community have stated that the high cost of housing forces them to pay higher wages to attract employees, which cuts into their profits. Those businesses who decide not to raise their wages often experience a revolving door of staff members who leave for other companies across the country, where the cost of housing does not consume a disproportionate amount of their paycheck.

The latest numbers from the Census support these observations. We have the sixth highest housing costs in the nation. Almost a quarter million Connecticut households spend more than half of their income on housing, while nearly half a million are spending 30% or more on housing.

Additionally, residents have less disposable income when they spend a disproportionate amount of their paycheck on housing costs. This means families have less money for discretionary goods and services, which also hurts businesses’ bottom line. 

To address these issues and improve their economy, Connecticut towns would be better served if they increased the number of housing options available to residents. Members of the business community have stated that towns should consider providing housing for everyone from the janitor to the CEO. This would draw-in and keep more tax payers as well as allow businesses to thrive with increased profits and stable workforces.

The Partnership for Strong Communities understands the importance of increasing housing choice across the state and we are dedicated to sharing this important information with our audience. We are delighted to host Daniel Shoag as well as members of the Connecticut business community, Jennifer Herz (Connecticut Business and Industry Association), Joe McGee (Business Council of Fairfield County), Paul Rocheleau (HABCO), and Hal Kurfehs (Coldwell Banker Commercial Scalzo Group), to speak on the topic during our next IForum, which will be held at the Lyceum in Hartford

Click here for more information. Register soon to ensure a seat as we expect strong attendance. We hope to see you there!

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