Mass. Taxpayers Foundation: Tech tax 'most burdensome' in U.S. [Boston Herald]
(Boston Herald (MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 09--A leading fiscal watchdog group slammed the state's controversial tech tax today as the "most burdensome in the nation," painting it as aggressive and unprecedented -- and trying to ratchet up pressure on Beacon Hill to kill the measure.
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation released what it touted as a state-by-state comparison of state tax laws aimed at computer and software services, focusing on 11 categories that it says the Bay State now taxes. Group President Michael Widmer called the findings "stunning, to put it mildly."
"It's dramatic to discover that on the one hand, innovation and technology is the centerpiece of our economy but on the other, we're taxing it to a larger extent than any other state in the nation," Widmer said.
"Other states have tried mightily to catch up to Massachusetts," he added of the state's technology sector. "Instead, we're going in the absolutely other direction and giving openings to other states to take this away from us, to steal our jobs."
Widmer, who is trying to put a repeal of the tax to voters on the November 2014 ballot, said the study is just the latest step in his group's campaign against the 6.25 percent surcharge.
The analysis says Massachusetts is the only state that "singles out" computer and software services, and two other states that tried instituting a computer-services tax -- Maryland in 2007 and Pennsylvania a decade earlier -- both repealed the measures.
"No other state taxes so many services at such a high rate," the organization said in a statement.
Among the study's findings:
--Massachusetts is one of just five states to tax computer system design, and it does so at the highest rate. Connecticut, for example, taxes other professional services at 6.35 percent, but computer services at just 1 percent, while others provide tax incentives in addition to the levies.
--Twenty-eight other states also offer tax incentives related to software services, and as many as 22 others also tax digital goods, including e-books and digital music and movies, though Massachusetts does not.
The study comes as several high-ranking Republicans are poised to unveil legislation this afternoon aimed at removing the tax.
House and Senate Minority Leaders Brad Jones (R-North Reading) and Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) -- whose caucuses had fought the tax while it weaved its way through the State House earlier this year -- are scheduled to release details of the legislation today at the South End company, Genuine Interactive.
A spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Administration and Finance did not address the study directly but in a statement said, "The Patrick Administration is continuing to engage with business and technology industry leaders about the software tax, our shared stake in how we will meet the Commonwealth's transportation needs and the fairest, smartest ways to pay for it. While we have not arrived at a solution yet, we are all committed to seeking one together."
(c)2013 the Boston Herald
Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]