YES for a Better Boston receives endorsement of religious leaders across Boston

The YES for a Better Boston campaign, in support of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) for Boston, has received the endorsement of a group of religious leaders across the City of Boston. This group of respected faith leaders is the most recent endorsement among the broad coalition of community-based organizations, labor unions, small businesses, elected officials and others supporting CPA, which will appear as Question #5 on Boston’s November ballot.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31, 2016
Contact: Kate Norton, 617-838-6083, knorton@ckstrategies.com

YES for a Better Boston receives endorsement of religious leaders across Boston

BOSTON – The YES for a Better Boston campaign, in support of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) for Boston, has received the endorsement of a group of religious leaders across the City of Boston. This group of respected faith leaders is the most recent endorsement among the broad coalition of community-based organizations, labor unions, small businesses, elected officials and others supporting CPA, which will appear as Question #5 on Boston’s November ballot.

These endorsing individuals join their names with other faith leaders and organizations in their support for CPA for Boston, including Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, Old North Church, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. They include:

  • Reverend June R. Cooper; City Mission
  • The Reverend Rainey G. Dankel; Trinity Church in the City of Boston, Back Bay
  • Shaykh Yasir Fahmy; Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, Roxbury
  • Reverend Dr. Gregory G. Groover Sr.; Historic Charles Street A.M.E Church, Dorchester
  • Rabbi Jen Gubitz; Temple Israel of Boston, Fenway/Kenmore
  • Reverend Rahsaan Hall; African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Rabbi Suzie Schwartz Jacobson; Temple Israel of Boston, Fenway/Kenmore
  • The Reverend Edwin D. Johnson; St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Dorchester
  • Monsignor Frank H. Kelley; Sacred Heart Church of Roslindale
  • Reverend Rob Mark; Church of the Covenant, Back Bay
  • Reverend Michael McGarry, C.S.P.; The Paulist Center, Beacon Hill
  • Reverend John R. Odams; The First Baptist Church of Boston, Back Bay
  • Rabbi Barbara Penzner; Temple Hillel B’nai Torah, West Roxbury
  • Rabbi Victor Reinstein; Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue, Jamaica Plain
  • Reverend Julie Avis Rogers; Church of the Covenant, Back Bay
  • Very Reverend James J. Ronan, VF; Saint Mary – Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Charlestown
  • Rabbi Matthew Soffer; Temple Israel of Boston, Fenway/Kenmore
  • Reverend Burns Stanfield; Fourth Presbyterian Church, South Boston; President of Greater Boston Interfaith Organization
  • The Reverend Liz Steinhauser; St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, South End
  • The Very Reverend John P. Streit; Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, Downtown
  • Senior Minister Nancy S. Taylor; Old South Church in Boston, Back Bay
  • The Reverend Pamela L. Werntz, Rector; Emmanuel Church in the City of Boston, Back Bay
  • Reverend Gloria Elaine White-Hammond, M.D.; Bethel A.M.E. Church, Jamaica Plain

The group released the following public letter today:

We – as leaders in our faith’s Boston community – indicate our support of Boston’s participation in the Community Preservation Act – a state program that would allow Boston to raise money for affordable housing, parks, and historic preservation through a small property tax surcharge that would be matched by additional funding from the Commonwealth.

The CPA was passed by the Massachusetts legislature in 2000 in an effort to preserve the communities of Massachusetts’s towns and cities. By creating affordable housing that allows a community’s next generation to stay close to home, caring for parks and public spaces, and preserving historic sites, the CPA helps keep Massachusetts’s communities together.

Passing the CPA on the November ballot would help provide a higher quality-of-life for residents of Boston.  It could create new, affordable homes for seniors, families, and veterans and help Boston retain its diversity. It could provide our children and families with parks, playgrounds, trails, and gardens.  And it could preserve the historic assets that make our city special.

We believe that the tax funding mechanism for the CPA – with numerous exemptions – is designed to alleviate any substantial burden on low income residents and low-moderate and moderate income seniors.   The typical Boston homeowner whose home is assessed at $500,000 would pay approximately $24 per year for this investment, and in turn, the City would generate $20 million or more every year for CPA projects.   If adopted, Boston would exercise local control over its CPA funds.  With input from the public, and city boards and agencies, a new committee of local residents would review and recommend projects to the city for funding each year.

We, Boston clergy leaders, support a “yes” vote on Question 5. We believe this is a moral choice for a better Boston.

CPA is designed to help Massachusetts cities and towns create affordable housing, develop outdoor recreational opportunities, and rehabilitate historic sites. CPA funds are generated by a small surcharge on local property tax bills matched by a statewide trust fund to maximize their impact. The Yes for a Better Boston Committee recommended to the Boston City Council a 1% property tax surcharge, with exemptions for low-income homeowners, low-and-moderate-income senior homeowners, and for the first $100,000 of residential and business’ property value. The typical Boston homeowner whose home is assessed at $500,000 would pay approximately $24 per year towards this investment, and in turn, the City would generate $20 million or more every year for CPA projects. These new dedicated funds would create new jobs and stimulate the region’s economy, allowing Boston to:

  • Develop and improve parks, playgrounds, trails, and gardens
  • Acquire land to protect water quality and reduce climate change impacts
  • Create thousands of new, affordable homes for seniors, families, and veterans
  • Restore and preserve historic buildings, and rehabilitate underutilized resources

Boston voters can learn about the many benefits of the Community Preservation Act by visiting www.YesBetterBoston.org.

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