Cities and towns that adopt CPA obtain community preservation funds from two sources - a local property tax surcharge and a yearly distribution from the statewide CPA Trust Fund.
How does the statewide CPA Trust fund work? Trust fund revenues are derived from a surcharge placed on all real estate transactions at the state's Registries of Deeds. The surcharge for most documents filed at the Registries is $20, which is immediately deposited the CPA Trust Fund held at the Department of Revenue (DOR). Municipal lien certificates are subject to a $10 surcharge. Depending upon how the real estate market is doing, the $20/$10 fees add up to anywhere between $24 million and $53 million per year.
DOR tracks the receipts and posts a monthly report on these collections, and they use that data to provide an estimate of the annual trust fund distribution in March of each year. Every CPA community receives their distribution from the trust fund at a formula-based percentage of what they raised locally. Learn more about the formula used to distribute the statewide CPA Trust Fund.
In recent years, as CPA was adopted by more communities and the real estate market declined, the base trust fund distribution decreased dramatically. To address this decline, Governor Patrick signed legislation to update CPA in 2012. The bill included a new revenue source to provide additional funding for the trust, over and above the revenue from the deeds recording fee. As a result, $25 million from the state's FY13 budget surplus was added to the trust fund prior to the November 15, 2013 distribution, another $11.4 milion was added in 2014 and $10 million in 2015. No surplus funding was available in 2016, so the Coalition has been advocating for legislation to provide more stable funding for the future.
Statewide CPA Trust Fund - Distribution History
Grand Total Statewide CPA Trust Fund Distribution: $568.84 million