Last month, the House passed their version of the FY2020 budget with a permanent increase to the CPA Trust Fund included. The Senate is now working on their version of the budget, and the Coalition is pleased to report that funding for the CPA Trust Fund is once again being considered.
Longtime CPA champion Senator Cynthia Stone Creem has filed an amendment that would match the House's proposed increase to the CPA Trust Fund. Amendment #3 calls for a $30 increase to most recording fees at the Registries of Deeds which would raise an estimated $36 million in additional revenue for the statewide CPA Trust Fund. That increase would more than double the base percentage match for all 175 CPA communities beginning in November of 2020.
In addition to this, Senator Bruce Tarr has filed an amendment that would bolster the CPA Trust Fund distribution for this coming November through budget surplus funds. Even if the language for a permanent increase to the CPA Trust Fund is passed in the final version of the budget, the additional revenue would not be collected until next year. In response to this, Amendment #2 calls for up to $20 million in budget surplus funds from the FY19 state budget to be transferred to the CPA Trust Fund. This funding would provide a higher match for CPA communities in November of 2019 as they wait for the permanent increase for CPA to go into effect.
We are grateful to Senator Creem and Senator Tarr for continuing to advocate for CPA in the Senate.
For the past few sessions, the Senate has been very supportive of proposals to increase the CPA Trust Fund. During the FY19 budget debate, a similar amendment to increase the CPA Trust Fund (also filed by Senator Creem) was passed by a unanimous roll call vote, although this language was ultimately dropped when the budget went to conference. And more recently, Senator Creem filed a stand-alone bill this session to increase the CPA Trust Fund that was co-sponsored by 27 state senators.
What is the next step in the budget process?
Debate on amendments to the Senate budget will take place the week of May 20th. If the CPA amendments are included in the final version of the Senate budget, they will then face one more hurdle before reaching the Governor's desk. In early June, the House and Senate will each appoint three members to a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate proposals. Both the House and Senate would then need to agree to include the CPA language in the final version of the budget.
The Coalition will be providing updates throughout this budget process.
What language is included in the CPA Amendments?
OTH 3: Community Preservation Trust Fund fees
Ms. Creem, Messrs. Tarr and Eldridge moved that the proposed new text be amended by inserting after section __ the following sections:-
SECTION ___. Section 8 of chapter 44B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 3, 8 and 23, the figure “$20” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following figure:- $50.
SECTION ___. Said section 8 of said chapter 44B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 10, 14 and 24, the figure “$10” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following figure:- $25.
SECTION ___. These two sections shall take effect on December 31, 2019. The commissioner of revenue shall notify the registers of deeds, the assistant recorders and the joint committee on revenue of the new surcharge amounts established under these sections. All documents or instruments received by the registers of deeds and assistant recorders that are postmarked prior to the effective date of these sections shall be subject to the fee surcharge applicable to section 8 of chapter 44B of the General Laws that was in effect prior to that date.
OTH 2: CPA Consolidated Net Surplus
Mr. Tarr moved that the proposed new text be amended by inserting, after section ___, the following new section:-
SECTION ___. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, after complying with clause (a) of 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 2017 by transferring: (i) $20,000,000 to the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund, established by section 9 of chapter 44B of the General Laws; and (ii) the remaining balance to the Commonwealth Stabilization Fund.
(b) All transfers pursuant to this section shall be made from the undesignated fund balances in the budgetary funds proportionally from the undesignated fund balances; provided, however, that no such transfer shall cause a deficit in any of the funds.