June 30, 2014: Responding to calls from CPA advocates across the state, the legislative committee charged with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the FY15 budget has approved a full $25 million from the state's budget surplus for the CPA Trust Fund. Legislators in both branches approved the budget on Monday, and Governor Patrick now has 10 days to sign it into law.
We are extremely grateful for the support of the budget Conference Committee, led by House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey and Senate Chair Stephen Brewer, as well as longtime CPA sponsor Stephen Kulik, Representative Vinny deMacedo, Senator Jennifer Flanagan and Senator Richard Ross. We are also grateful to Senator Cynthia Stone Creem, House Minority Leader Brad Jones, and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr for their strong support of CPA.
The full text of the CPA funding provision in the state budget is as follows:
SECTION 242. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, prior to transferring the consolidated net surplus in the budgetary funds to the Commonwealth Stabilization Fund under section 5C of chapter 29 of the General Laws, the comptroller shall dispose of the consolidated net surplus in the budgetary funds for fiscal year 2014 as follows: (i) transfer 1⁄2 of the surplus, not to exceed $25,000,000, to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Investment Fund established in section 6 of chapter 23I of the General Laws; (ii) transfer 1⁄2 of the surplus, not to exceed $25,000,000, to the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund established in section 9 of chapter 44B of the General Laws; provided, however, that if the consolidated net surplus in the budgetary funds exceeds $50,000,000, the comptroller shall transfer the remaining amount, not to exceed $7,500,000, to the Social Innovation Financing Trust Fund established in section 35VV of chapter 10 of the General Laws.
CPA Trust Fund Update
There are still many factors that will determine how this funding will affect the percentage match CPA communities will receive this coming November 15th. First, there has to be sufficient funding in the state's surplus to allow for the $25 million transfer. Projections are that the surplus will be sufficient, although the final determination won't be made until the state closes its books on the fiscal year on October 31st.
At that time, the $25 million will be added to the revenue from collections at the state's Registries of Deeds, and the entire balance will be distributed to CPA communities on November 15th. Unfortunately, collections at the Registries have been down dramatically recently. Compared to the last seven months of the previous year, collections for CPA are down almost 30%, a reduction of $5.3 million. While it is still too early to project the percentage match for CPA communities this fall, it is clear that the additional $25 million from the state budget surplus will be critical to a robust match this year. Without the surplus funds, it's certain that the distribution would be at record low levels.