The City of Boston as well as at least nine other towns across Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly in favor of implementing the Community Preservation Act, a state program that incentivizes towns to implement modest surcharges to property taxes (in most towns, including Boston, the surcharge was 1%) to be used for affordable housing, preservation of open space, and/or historic preservation.
The state then provides some matching funds. CPA is expected to bring $20 yearly in new revenue. Proponents have highlighted affordable housing as a top priority for the funds.
Sixteen towns had CPA implementation on their ballots. As of press time, ten — including Chelsea and Holyoke — had voted to implement it; none had voted against the local measure.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who initially balked at any increase to property taxes, which already make up a disproportionate portion of the city's revenue, changed his mind and sided with an alliance of housing activists and religious organizations pushing the measure.
The city estimates that most residents will pay about an extra $28 per year. The first $100,000 of property value are exempt, and the measure includes exemptions for low-income residents.
An previous attempt to implement CPA in Boston failed in 2001; that surcharge, however, would have been 2%.
And while business interests actively opposed the measure then, opposition was muted this year.
The passage of CPA creates a fund which will be overseen by a community appointed by the city's legislative body — City Council, in Boston's case — and the mayor.