The Coalition is pleased to report an exciting development for CPA communities - during the Senate FY23 budget debate last night, Senator Jo Comerford's budget amendment #834, "Community Preservation Act Surplus Funding," was adopted. This legislation allocates $20 million in state budget surplus funds for this November’s statewide CPA Trust Fund distribution.
During the debate Senator Comerford took the opportunity to underline how important it is for the Legislature to continue its support for local CPA programs:
"I ask this Senate to go all in for the Community Preservation Act surplus funding," said Senator Comerford in her opening statement. "Imagine the good that this funding is doing in partnership with our municipal colleagues."
Acknowledging that the state legislature has supported the CPA Trust Fund with available state budget surplus funds every year since 2013, Senator Comerford urged the Senate to renew this commitment in the FY23 state budget. This additional revenue would help offset a dip in revenue seen in CPA Trust Fund collections over the last several months.
In April, the Department of Revenue projected that CPA communities could expect a 35% base distribution in November 2022, which would be a 20% decrease from 2021. According to the Coalition's estimates, an infusion of $20 million would allow the CPA Trust Fund to provide a distribution on par with last year.
We are extremely grateful for the support of Senator Jo Comerford who championed this amendment, as well as Ways & Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, Vice Chair Cindy Friedman, Senate President Karen Spilka, Majority Leader Cynthia Stone Creem, Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, and all the members of the Senate who signed on as co-sponsors.
What is the next step for this legislation?
After the Senate finishes their version of the FY23 state budget, a six-member conference committee will be charged with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. Whether or not the final version of the budget will include surplus funds for CPA will likely be a tough negotiation, as the House did not include any additional funding for CPA in their version of the budget. The Committee usually issues its report by the end of June, after which it will head to the desk of Governor Baker.
What was included in the Senate budget amendment for CPA?
Amendment 834: Community Preservation Act Surplus Funding
Ms. Comerford, Messrs. Eldridge, Moore, Hinds and Cronin, Ms. Gobi, Ms. Rausch, Ms. Lovely, Messrs. O'Connor, Timilty and Tarr, Ms. Creem and Messrs. Gomez and Cyr moved that the proposed new text be amended by adding the following section:-
“SECTION XX. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, prior to transferring the consolidated net surplus in the budgetary funds for fiscal year 2022 to the Commonwealth Stabilization Fund pursuant to section 5C of chapter 29 of the General Laws, the comptroller shall transfer $20,000,000 to the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund established in section 9 of chapter 44B of the General Laws.”.