The budget that Governor Baker signed into law last week includes $43.3 billion in appropriations, including many increased investments in smart growth and regional planning priorities.
MAPC thanks Governor Baker for approving a FY2020 budget that increases funding for key MAPC priorities, including the District Local Technical Assistance program, Shannon Grant, Community Preservation Assistance Trust Fund, and more.
How Our Priorities Fared:
District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA)
Shannon Community Safety Initiative
The Shannon Grant, which provides funds for municipalities to address youth gang violence prevention, is funded at $11 million. This is a $3 million increase from last year’s funding level and the highest level since FY2009. This additional funding will allow Shannon Grant partners to bolster programs and services to address the needs of a growing region, changing communities, and spikes in crime. We are so grateful to the Legislature and Governor for recognizing the importance of this program.
Community Preservation Assistance Trust Fund
The FY2020 budget includes the first update to Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding since 2000. It includes a $30 increase to the deeds fee for most documents. It's estimated that those increased fees will generate an additional $36 million for the CPA Trust Fund. We are thrilled to see this increase, which been a priority for many communities who have watched the state match dwindle for many years. The budget also includes language diverting up to $20 million of FY2019 surplus money to the CPA Trust Fund in advance of the new deeds fee taking effect.
Other Key Priorities:
A summary of other key priorities is below. The full text of the final FY2020 budget can be found here.
Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)
We are excited to see that HIP received $6.5 million in the Conference Committee budget. This program provides a dollar-for-dollar match for each SNAP dollar spent on fruits and vegetable at farmers markets, farm stands, and Community Supported Agriculture Programs.
Special Infrastructure Financing for Transportation
Unfortunately, an amendment for this transportation value capture tool was not included in the final FY2020 budget, but we are hopeful that it will be taken up as part of the larger transportation financing conversations expected later this session.
Efficiency and Regionalization Grants and Community Compact
Enabling language was included for both grant programs, but the programs received no dedicated funding. This means that there is only $600,000 unallocated within the 1599-0026 account. In past budgets, each program had received $2 million.
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
In recent years, DEP has suffered significant funding cuts and seen its staff shrink. MAPC is glad to see this line item funded at $32 million, which is more than we had initially requested. This funding will help DEP staff to complete their often complex and highly technical work.
Regional Transit Authorities
The FY2020 budget includes $90.5 million in RTA funding. The budget still includes language that requires an MOU between RTAs and MassDOT, and $3.5 million of the total allocated funding is conditional on MOUs, performance metrics, and data reporting. This is an increase from last year’s funding, but we had hoped to see the final budget do away with the MOU requirement.
Census Data Technical Assistance
As the Commonwealth gears up for the 2020 Census, we’re glad to see this line item bumped up to $2.75 million. This funding will support the UMass Donahue Institute as they conduct their independent population estimates, develop local and regional partnerships to collect relevant data, and work with the Census Bureau on their count efforts.
MAPC is grateful for the leadership of Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, and Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues.
MAPC would also like to thank our legislative champions who worked hard to ensure that smart growth and regional collaboration funding was a priority during the budget debate over the last six months: Senator Jamie Eldridge, Senator Joseph Boncore, Representative Paul Donato, and Representative Adrian Madaro.