The idea that the federal government can impose, in some circumstances, its will on local or state government, is not a new one. As writers for the National Journal point out, the 10th Amendment reserves for the states powers that are not explicitly given to the federal government. "[T]he government has used federal highway funding as a way to leverage states to comply with driving-related laws," the National Journal writers say, in their piece about highway funding held hostage.
As Kent Hoover reports for the Business Journals, something similar is afoot in the housing industry. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is requiring local government to provide access to affordable housing. If local government does not do so, it will lose HUD funding.
It is no surprise that this new requirement has stirred debate.
Hoover, in his Business Journals article, characterizes it as a question of fairness versus social engineering. Will tying HUD funding to affordable housing allow more children access to better schools, or is another example of the federal government meddling too much in the affairs of local government?
It's a good question, one that stems from a long line of similar questions, many arising from the concept of federalism: How should power be divided between the individual states and the federal government?
No matter what the right answer is - if there is one - it's likely that the new HUD requirement will cause some ripples in the areas of fair housing and real estate law in the Denver metro area.