In the closing decade of the 20th century, American cities face difficult financial predicaments. Urban tax bases have atrophied, and the confidence rating of municipal bonds has been downgraded. At the same time, city expenditures have increased as century-old infrastructure begins to crumble and urban demographics demand an ever increasing array of public services. To meet these challenges, New York City would do well to adopt impact fee and linkage arrangements, which would require developers to contribute to State coffers in proportion to the expected environmental, social, and economic impact of their development projects. To pass constitutional muster, however, any impact fee arrangement would have to be carefully worded to require impact fee payments towards the development of affordable housing for only those projects that can be demonstrably shown to have an adverse expected impact on the availability of affordable housing in the city.

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