As the state budget debate opened in the newly restored Senate Chamber, senators wasted little time in showing support for CPA. We are pleased to report that both Senator Cynthia Stone Creem's and Senator Tarr's amendments to increase revenue for the CPA Trust Fund were officially adopted in the Senate's version of the budget.
Amendment #3 was the very first item that was taken up during the Senate Budget debate today. During the roll call vote, 38 Senators went on record to vote in favor of the amendment. Just like the House budget passed last month, when the Senate votes to approve the full budget later this week, it will now include language to permanently increase funding for the statewide CPA Trust Fund.
The amendment 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 CPA. That increase would more than double the base percentage match for all 175 CPA communities beginning in November of 2020. With both the House and the Senate backing this proposal, the only step before this heads to the Governor's desk will be a Conference Committee vote in June.
Additionally, Senator Bruce Tarr's Amendment #2 was one of the final amendments to be successfully included in the Senate Budget. This amendment authorizes up to $20 million from the state's budget surplus to be transferred to the CPA Trust Fund in time for the November 2019 distribution. If a surplus is indeed available at the end of the fiscal year, this will avoid a record-low CPA Trust Fund distribution.
We are grateful to Senate President Karen Spilka, Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, Majority Leader (and long-time CPA sponsor) Cynthia Stone Creem, and Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. In addition, we express our gratitude to the 22 co-sponsors of Senator Creem's amendment: Michael Barrett, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Nick Collins, Joanne Comerford, Brendan Crighton, Julian Andre Cyr, Viriato deMacedo, Diana DiZoglio, James Eldridge, Paul Feeney, Barry Finegold, Anne Gobi, Patricia Jehlen, John F. Keenan, Edward Kennedy, Eric Lesser, Joan Lovely, Michael Moore, Patrick O'Connor, Rebecca Rausch, Walter Timilty, & James Welch.
What is the next step in the budget process?
In the coming weeks, a six-member conference committee will be charged with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the FY20 state budget. The increase to the CPA Trust Fund was included in both the House and Senate versions of the document, while the language regarding the transfer of budget surplus funds to the CPA Trust Fund differs between the House and Senate versions of the budget, so the committee will be deciding exactly what will or will not be included in the final version. The Committee usually issues its report by the end of June, after which it will head to the desk of Governor Baker.
The Coalition will be providing updates throughout this budget process.
What was included in the Senate Budget for CPA?
SECTION 32. 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 33. 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 105. 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 in sections 32 and 33. All documents or instruments received by the registers of deeds and assistant recorders that are postmarked prior to the effective date of said sections 15A and 15B shall be subject to the fee surcharge applicable to section 8 of chapter 44B of the General Laws that was in effect before that date.
SECTION 119. 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 pursuant to section 5C of chapter 29 of the General Laws, the comptroller shall transfer 50 per cent of the consolidated net surplus in the budgetary funds for fiscal year 2019 or $20,000,000 of such surplus, whichever is less, to the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund established in section 9 of chapter 44B of the General Laws.
SECTION 134. Sections 32 and 33 shall take effect on December 31, 2019.
- "State to Boost Community Partnerships" - State House News Service
- "State Should Pay Its Fair Share on CPA" - Boston Globe editorial endorsing the increase to CPA funding
- "Our View: Paying for Community Preservation" Gloucester Times editorial endorsing the increase to CPA funding
- "Our Opinion: Make successful CPA even more successful" - The Berkshire Eagle editorial endorsing the increase to CPA funding
- "Fee Hikes Eyed to Address State's Broken CPA Promise" - State House News Service
- "Popular Preservation Program Would Get $$$ Jolt Under House Plan" - State House News Service