The FY20 budget process is nearing its end as the six member conference committee is now meeting to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate budgets. And with the permanent increase to the CPA Trust Fund being considered in the budget, an impressive announcement today is showing just how important the new funding is for CPA communities.
In an unprecedented show of support, a letter was issued to the state’s budget and legislative leaders this week on behalf of many of Massachusetts’ largest cities and towns supporting the inclusion of the Community Preservation Act in this year’s state budget. In a collaboration between the Coalition and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, this letter brought together 101 chief executives of CPA communities urging the conference committee to support both long-term and short-term funding solutions for the CPA program.
Emphasizing that CPA is “no longer the state-local partnership it was designed to be,” the letter highlights the fact that although the 175 cities and towns that have adopted the program are collectively raising approximately $160 million in local revenue each year, the matching funds from the statewide CPA Trust Fund have plummeted to only an estimated 11 percent for the November 2019 distribution.
To fix this imbalance, Mayors and City and Town Managers from across Massachusetts wrote in support of pending funding solutions for CPA. First, they urged final approval of language included in both the House and Senate budgets that would modernize the CPA funding source and increase the base percentage match for all CPA communities to approximately 30% beginning in 2020. And secondly, to avoid a record-low disbursement in 2019, the letter urges the budget conference committee to approve a transfer from the state’s budget surplus to the Trust Fund.
The conference committee is comprised of six members - Representatives Michlewitz, Garlick, and Smola from the House, and Senators Rodgrigues, Friedman, and DeMacedo from the Senate. Should the CPA provisions be included in the reconciled budget document, it would then head to the desk of Governor Baker. The Governor would then have 10 days to sign, but he can also veto specific provisions of the bill.
The budget conference committee is expected to announce that they have finished their work by the end of the month, so we will provide an update on the status of the CPA language as soon as it is available.