Earlier this week, the House completed the debate on their version of the FY24 state budget - and while there was widespread support for the inclusion of state budget surplus funds for the CPA Trust Fund, this language was ultimately not included in the final version of the bill.
Representative Paul Schmid filed Amendment #502, "Community Preservation Act (CPA)," which would have allocated up to $30 million in FY23 state budget surplus funds to be transferred to the CPA Trust Fund. The Legislature has a longstanding tradition of including similar transfers in the state budget for more than a decade (including last year's supplemental distribution of $20M), and dozens of Representatives signaled support for including this language again by signing on as a co-sponsor for Amendment #502. By the end of the House debate, a total of 72 legislators had signed on as a co-sponsor for the amendment - you can view a full list of these Representatives by clicking here.
It is unfortunate that the final House Budget did not include any provisions for the CPA Trust Fund, as the need for state-level funding for CPA communities is more critical than ever. Due to rising interest rates and low real estate activity, collections at the state's Registries of Deeds that provide revenue to the CPA Trust Fund have fallen drastically in recent months. Compared to this time last year, collections for the CPA Trust Fund have already dropped by over 33%, with recent data from the month of March showing an even more drastic decline of 44%. And while it's possible that there could be an upswing in revenue later in the year, state budget surplus funding is the most effective way to ensure that CPA communities will receive a sustainable state distribution in November.
What Comes Next?
The Coalition is already making plans to work with our legislative partners on including surplus fund language in the Senate's version of the FY24 state budget. It only takes passage by one branch for an amendment to be considered by the Conference Committee that reconciles the two versions of the budget, so with the Senate budget debate coming in May, there's still a chance that the CPA Trust Fund will be included in the final state budget later this year.
We are grateful for the support of Representative Schmid, as well as the 72 Representatives that signed on as co-sponsors during the House budget debate.