Friday, April 5, 2002
State expected to provide 100% CPA matching for three years
Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds are collected as a percentage surcharge on real estate taxes, and are eligible for up to 100% matching funds from the state. The state money comes from fees on real estate transactions performed at the Registry of Deeds, estimated at about $26 million annually. Disbursements from the state CPA trust fund are made in October, and are divided among those towns which have locally enacted the CPA tax surcharge. According to the CPA web site, www.communitypreservation.org, approximately $39 million is expected to be in the state fund by October 2002, with expected disbursements of about $17 million. This would leave $22 million in the fund, which would grow to $48 million the following year. In March, Chris Saccardi wrote at the web site, "With these numbers in mind, it is expected that all communities who have adopted CPA will receive 100% matches for this year and at least the following two, even if Boston approves CPA during that time, which is far from certain.
CPA Trust Fund appears secure
"Regarding legislative efforts to weaken the Act, while such efforts are technically possible, it would be highly unlikely that the source of revenue for the Trust Fund would be reduced or eliminated for several reasons. First, it is important to understand that the Trust Fund has a dedicated revenue source which is separate from the annual legislative appropriations process. Thus, even when the state is facing a fiscal crisis like the current one, the money in the Fund is legally untouchable for any use other than those approved under CPA. Second, in order to change or eliminate the fees at the Registry of Deeds that fund the Trust Fund, a major piece of legislation would have to be passed. Because of the broad-based coalition that worked on the original passage of the Act for well over a decade, the likelihood of such legislation being successful is very small. Not only that, but with so many towns having passed the Act, there is a broad constituency with a vested interest in its survival. To alienate them would be politically unpalatable."
The web site is a product of the state-wide Community Preservation Act Coalition, which includes many non-profit organizations interested in housing, historic preservation, and open space. The Massacusetts Municipal Association, the Massachusetts League of Women Voters, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council are also members.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito