By Bob Katzen
The Senate 38-2, approved an amendment that would raise the existing surcharge on most Registry of Deeds’ real estate transaction fees by $30 (from $20 to $50). This money helps to fund the Community Preservation Act (CPA) which helps cities and towns preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing and develop outdoor recreational facilities.
Amendment supporters said that when the fund was created in 2000, the state was able to provide communities with a 100 percent match of the funds the community raised through their local option surcharge of up to 3 percent of the local property tax. The state now only matches about 11 percent because of a lack of funding.
“I have been trying to increase revenue for the state CPA matching funds for several sessions,” said Sen. Cindy Creem (D-Newton), the sponsor of the amendment. “Over 170 communities are waiting for us to keep our state’s promise to meaningfully partner with them for housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation. Raising the match from 11 percent to 30 percent will help move these important projects along.”
“I do not support making housing transaction costs in the commonwealth more expensive when not all cities and towns are opted into the CPA program,” said Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Webster). “Massachusetts housing and closing costs are already consistently highest in the nation.”
“The state is realizing record tax revenue exceeding our benchmark by over 900 million dollars,” said Sen. Dean Tran (R-Leominster). “This is indicative of a strong economy and an example of why we should put an emphasis on economic development, creating jobs and help put people to work so that they can provide for their families. It is not the time to raise taxes and fees.”