Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

Subsidizing Exclusion

In light of recent events, I’m sharing an analysis I put together back in 2016 that looks at how state and local tax policies magnify the issues creates by exclusionary zoning in Central New York, specifically Onondaga County (where I live). The State of New York is taking up the issue of affordable housing and exclusionary zoning this session – this analysis underscores why these issues are so important.

If you are wondering what recent events I’m referring to, it is this new report from CNY Fair housing that takes an even more in depth look at exclusionary zoning, and it’s impact on affordable housing and racial segregation. Worth noting as well that NY Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed new rules that would allow the state to approve proposals for new housing unless local governments could show clear health or safety issues.

The crux of my works was to show that to the extent that exclusionary zoning reduces affordable housing and exacerbates racial segregation, we actually subsidize these outcomes through tax incentives and deductions that are disproportionately claimed by people living in exclusive suburbs.

My sincere hope is that as we tackle the issues of affordable housing and exclusionary zoning that we can start to address issues with our tax code that magnify these problems.

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About Me

I am the former Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia. I also served as Director of Government Relations at Code for America, and as Director of the State of Delaware’s Government Information Center. For about six years, I served in the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS), and helped pioneer their work with state and local governments. I also led platform evangelism efforts for TTS’ cloud platform, which supports over 30 critical federal agency systems.

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