Coalition Advocates For Increased CPA Funding

June 15, 2016:  Each year, the first step in the state’s annual budget process is the release of the Governor's proposed budget in late January. In the past, funding for the CPA Trust Fund has never been a part of the Governor’s budget proposal, but rather was inserted later in the budget process.

But the Baker Administration has pledged to make local aid to municipalities a priority, and when the Governor’s FY17 budget was released it contained a recommendation to transfer $10 million in state budget surplus funds to the CPA Trust Fund. This is a significant step, and a clear signal that the Baker Administration values the outstanding work being done in CPA communities across the state.

The House released their budget proposal in April, followed by the Senate in May. Both budget proposals included amendments for up to $10 million to be transferred to the CPA Trust Fund from this year's state budget surplus. In June, a budget conference committee will reconcile differences between the House and Senate budget proposals, and the final budget will be presented to Governor Baker in late June or early July. The state must end the fiscal year with a budget surplus for the CPA Trust Fund to receive the $10 million, and so the final outcome will be known by October.

Funding from the state's budget surplus is part of a two-part strategy that the Coalition is supporting to provide for a stronger CPA Trust Fund. The Legislature has recently been very supportive of funding the trust in this manner, having provided $25 million in state surplus funds at the end of FY13, another $11.4 million at the end of FY14, and $10 million at the end of FY15. Without such a transfer, this year's base CPA distribution could fall below 20% for many CPA communities (those that have a full 3% local CPA surcharge will receive additional funding on Rounds 2 and 3 of the distribution).

State surplus funding is not a long-term answer for CPA, however. As such, An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue (H.2587) calls for a permanent solution - an adjustment in the current funding source for the CPA Trust Fund. The Trust derives its revenue from fees collected at the Registries of Deeds across the state, but those fees have never been adjusted since CPA was signed into law by Governor Cellucci in 2000. The legislation calls for the Department of Revenue to calculate what the fee would need to be so that all current CPA communities would receive a 50% first round distribution. There is a cap of $50 provided in the legislation, so that the fee would not rise above that level.

Last September, we were pleased to report that An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue (H.2587) received a favorable recommendation from the Joint Committee on Revenue. The bill now advances to the House Committee on Ways & Means.  An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue would provide a higher annual trust fund distribution for all CPA communities. This is especially important as more communities join the program and the match is predicted to be at an all-time low this fall.

There are 89 state legislators (21 Senators and 68 Representatives) that have signed on to support the legislation, as well as 22 statewide organizations.  Here is the full list of legislators and organizations who have supported the bill:

Senate

Lead Sponsor: Cynthia Stone Creem

Co-Sponsors: Michael Barrett, William Brownsberger, Sal DiDomenico, Kenneth Donnelly, Eileen Donoghue, James Eldridge, Jennifer Flanagan, Linda Dorcena Forry, Anne Gobi, Robert Hedlund, Donald Humason, Kathleen O'Connor Ives, Brian Joyce, Thomas Kennedy, Barbara L'Italien, Jason Lewis, Thomas McGee, James Timilty, James Welch, Daniel Wolf

House

Lead Sponsor: Stephen Kulik

Co-Sponsors: James Arciero, Brian Ashe, Cory Atkins, Ruth Balser, Christine Barber, Jennifer Benson, Nicholas Boldyga, Thomas Calter, Gailanne Cariddi, Brendan Crighton, Claire Cronin, Josh Cutler, Angelo D'Emilia, Marjorie Decker, David DeCoste, Paul Donato, Carolyn Dykema, Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Michael Finn, Carole Fiola, Sean Garballey, Denise Garlick, Colleen Garry, Carmine Gentile, Thomas Golden, Danielle Gregoire, Patricia Haddad, Jonathan Hecht, Bradford Hill, Kate Hogan, Russell Holmes, Kevin Honan, Steven Howitt, Louis Kafka, Jay Kaufman, Mary Keefe, Kay Khan, Peter Kocot, Jay Livingstone, Timothy Madden, Elizabeth Malia, Paul Mark, Christopher Markey, Paul McMurtry, James Miceli, Leonard Mirra, David Muradian, Harold Naughton, James O'Day, Sarah Peake, Alice Peisch, Denise Provost, David Rogers, Daniel Ryan, Tom Sannicandro, Paul Schmid, John Scibak, Alan Silvia, Frank Smizik, Todd Smola, Thomas Stanley, Ellen Story, Benjamin Swan, Timothy Toomey Jr., Paul Tucker, Aaron Vega, Chris Walsh

Statewide Organizations

American Farmland Trust, Appalachian Mountain Club, Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Historic New England, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Mass. Association of Community Development Corporations, Mass. Assoc. of Conservation Commissions, Mass Audubon, Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, Mass. League of Environmental Voters, Massachusetts Municipal Association , Mass. Recreation and Park Association, Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Preservation Massachusetts, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land and The Trustees of Reservations

Further Resources

>> "An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue" - Full text of the legislation, as filed by Rep. Stephen Kulik  and Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (H.2587).

>> There was a strong show of support during the CPA bill hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Revenue in 2015.

>> The Coalition held a briefing at the State House to garner support for CPA on Beacon Hill. Click here to read more about the briefing.

>> Representative Peter Kocot filed Amendment #813 to H. 4200 urging the House to support $25 million for CPA. 

>> Senator Cynthia Stone Creem filed Amendment OTH #58 seeking $25 million in surplus funding for CPA.