BRI News

Welcome Home Westchester Reacts to the FY2024 State Budget

(April 19, 2024) The Governor and the New York State Legislature have agreed on a $237 billion budget that includes a number of policies intended to help alleviate problems related to housing in the greater New York City area and statewide, including a couple that are specifically intended to ameliorate the housing shortage. The organizing partners of the Welcome Home Westchester campaign released the following statement on the FY2024 budget that is being voted on today and tomorrow:

Since inception, the Welcome Home Westchester campaign has focused on advancing solutions to Westchester’s critical housing shortage – a crisis that continues to threaten our businesses and nonprofits, our workers, and our communities. This year’s New York State budget contains some important elements designed to encourage the construction of housing in New York City and to incentivize our suburban communities to embrace a pro-housing ethos. Unfortunately, the budget falls well short of needed statewide efforts and lacks many straightforward elements advanced in neighboring states. 

Incentives and inducements are important. However, until Albany works to address overly restrictive and antiquated zoning laws (most prevalent in suburban communities such as Westchester) that are designed to discourage housing development and are subject to easy manipulation by a hyper-localized vocal minority, the housing shortage will not abate. Most notably, that means a reformed SEQRA to provide certainty for high-value housing projects, a statewide push for comprehensive plans which include a robust housing element, and a focused approach to transit oriented development. Where implemented, these solutions have been well studied by lawmakers and academics and share a track record of success. 

Welcome Home Westchester will continue its efforts to engage with our state lawmakers even as it works directly with our local communities to advance practical housing solutions and champions worthwhile projects. New York’s failure to come to terms with this fundamental issue is costing us businesses, talent, and much needed tax revenue and we are slipping further behind our peers. Now is not the time to claim victory and move on. Important work remains.

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