Massachusetts House Unanimously Passes Community Preservation Legislation
an outstanding show of support, on April 23 the Massachusetts House of Representatives
voted 153-0 for an amendment that could double the state funding available to
towns and cities that adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA).
The CPA provides
a way for communities to create funds for land conservation, historic
preservation, recreation, and affordable housing -- needs often not addressed in
the regular budget but essential in preserving a community's character, quality
of life, and economic vitality. Towns and cities that approve a small CPA
property tax surcharge receive an annual distribution from the statewide Community
Preservation Trust Fund. When the CPA first passed 12 years ago, the state matched local CPA funds at 100 percent, but the
percentage has declined to about 26 percent. More than 40 percent of the
municipalities in Massachusetts have adopted CPA.
amendment is nearly identical to An Act to Sustain Community
Preservation (HB 765), which aims to maintain and broaden participation by
increasing the state distribution, expanding the acceptable uses for CPA funds,
and giving cities more flexibility in how they raise funds. The one change is
in the funding source: Instead of an increase in recording fees at the Registry
of Deeds called for in HB 765, the amendment provides for a yearly
transfer of $25 million from the state's end-of-year budget surplus into
the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund.
The next stop for the CPA legislation is the Massachusetts
Senate, which will take up the proposal in mid-May as part of its debate on the
state budget. If it passes in the Senate and is signed by the Governor, $25
million from the state's budget surplus would be added each year to the revenue
from the existing CPA, beginning with the Fall 2013 CPA Trust Fund payment.
For more information, go to the Community
Preservation Coalition website.