Half Sigma endorses John Faso, the Republican candidate, for Governor of New York.
The most important issue facing middle class residents of New York is the unaffordability of housing. With this in mind, I read what both candidates have to say on housing. I learned that Elliot Spitzer, the Democratic candidate, just doesn't get it, and his policies will cause the price of housing to increase rather than go down.
Elliot Spitzer's website says that housing is too expensive because, even though NY is one of the most heavily taxed states, state government still isn't spending enough money on housing:
The State's investment in housing, adjusted for inflation, has declined by 15% during the last decade. Moreover, state-assisted public housing has been operating at a deficit due partly to the elimination of state operating subsidies in 1998.
Elliot Spitzer's website also includes a defense of rent control:
To stop the loss of affordable homes that already exist, we will address several issues, including lax enforcement of the housing maintenance code and the state's rent laws and the number of units facing expiring government subsidies or restrictions. Only by doing so, can we preserve the fabric of many of our communities.
Elliot Spitzer seems to believe that affordable housing comes from government regulation when, in fact, just the opposite is true, regulation drives up the costs of housing.
In contrast, John Faso's housing position paper doesn't endorse government spending and regulation as the way to make housing affordable.
Faso says that "New York must lower the cost of building houses," and he has some specific proposals including reforming the "Scaffolding Law" which he says adds $6,000 to $10,000 to the cost of a new house.
Faso also proposes consolidating the state housing agencies in order to reduce time consuming and expensive administrative overhead that builders face:
Currently, developers must go to two places, fill out two applications, and manage two timeframes before they can be approved to build. This system is grossly inefficient and a waste of limited resources. The Faso Plan will consolidate the Division of Housing and Community Renewal with the Housing Finance Agency, as they have been in the past.
Faso's housing plan isn't perfect. There are two facets to the high cost of housing in New York City. One is the regulations which drive up costs. The other is zoning which prevents housing from being built in the densities required by the large population in need of housing.
Spitzer's plan does mention zoning, but only as a means to use taxpayer money to build more public housing. Spitzer obviously does not believe in turning the free market loose to build more housing.
Faso's plan is flawed because it doesn't talk about zoning reform, but unlike Spitzer's anti-free market plan, Faso's plan is a step in the right direction.
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The latest poll shows Spitzer leading 77% to 22%. Why even bother to vote? No matter how much Spitzer disgusts me, I don't see the point of wasting time going to the polling place.