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Biz Briefs: Mr. Tire, Tax Holiday, Business Directory

Staff Reports
Don't worry, Mister Tire will still be here when the snow flies.

Tired of Rumors

Larry Davis of Mister Tire in North Adams is assuring his many, many patrons that the 38-year-old family business is definitely not closing.

"It's come to our attention that the rumor about town has us closing our doors, or being sold to the highest bidder. We'd like to take the time to assure the community that neither of these things are true," the company posted on its Facebook page.

Rather, Davis will be spending less time at the shop, with his children Matt, Mike, and Tori, and general manager Scott taking over more of the operation.

"Larry's children will continue to provide the best service and pricing in the Berkshires," the post states. "As always we'd like to thank our loyal customers for their years of trust, and look forward to the future with you all."

Tax Holiday

After quibbling about the potential revenue loss, the Legislature on Friday passed a tax holiday weekend, just live everyone knew it would

This year's tax holiday is Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-16. Purchases under $2,500 will not be charged the state's 6.25 percent sales tax. It excludes vehicles, motorized boats, tobacco, meals and utilities.

The tax holiday has been instituted yearly since 2005, with the exception of 2009. The Legislature has been called on to make it an regularly occurring event, but lawmakers seem reluctant to give up the annual "will they or won't they" suspense.

State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli says the holiday is a boost to the economy, drawing in visitors from nearby states to spend money.

"Historically, we have seen people from neighboring states with higher tax rates come into southern Berkshire and Hampden counties to shop during the sales tax holiday weekend," he said. "While they’re here, they eat at our restaurants and make a day of it. That's money coming into these small towns that wouldn't be there otherwise.”

Supporting Hilltown Business

Next year's edition of the Hilltown Business Directory is soliciting listings. The 30-year-old directory published by the Hilltown Community Development Corp. is delivered the 16,500 households in 21 towns in Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin counties each January.

It annually lists more than 300 hilltown businesses and is designed to promote and support local business. "I had a tremendous response last year. I will definitely advertise again!" says one local business.
Reservation forms are available at www.hilltowncdc.org or from Seth Isman at 413-296-4536 ext. 112 or at sethi@hilltowncdc.org. The deadline is Sept. 14.


House Repeals 'Tech Tax'

Staff Reports

BOSTON — The House of Representatives on Wednesday repealed the much maligned "tech tax" that had been part of the revenue package in this year's state budget.

The addition of the 6.25 percent sales tax to software and computer design services had been estimated to raise $161 million this fiscal year but ran into trouble when no one could adequately explain how it would be implemented. The state's high-tech industry revolted, saying the tax would cost jobs and that its wording was too vague.

"I'm proud of the House's vote today to repeal the so-called tech tax. Our vote sends a strong message to the world that Massachusetts is the place for innovators to succeed and thrive," said House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

"Because jobs and economic growth are central to the House's agenda, I promised to listen to business leaders and House members on what the tax's impact would be when this measure was initially passed. After listening, we learned of the burden of this tax. Our strong commitment to business and the innovation economy led to its repeal."

The vote was 156-1. The Senate is expected to vote for repeal on Thursday.


House Gives Initial Approval to Jobless Insurance Rate Changes

Berkshire Chamber of Commerce

The Berkshire Chamber passed on this information:

The state House budget committee on Thursday approved an unemployment insurance rate freeze bill that aides say would hit employers with per-employee average increase of $110 per year but spare businesses from a rate schedule with even higher rates.  More Massachusetts residents have been relying on the fund during the recession for cash benefits and the fund will need years of federal loans to keep benefits flowing.

Unemployment in Massachusetts hit 9.4 percent in December.  Patrick administration officials said last year they were considering a rate relief plan but no proposal has been filed and steep unemployment insurance rate hikes are scheduled to trigger in the spring, unless legislators and Patrick agree to a new schedule. 

"Freezing the rate is an appropriate step at least based on the numbers that I've seen," John Regan of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, an employer trade group, told the Statehouse News Service on Thursday morning.  "We'd clearly like to see systemic reform as well, not that we're ungrateful for the step that's being taken."  The House gave the bill initial approval Thursday morning and it could receive further attention in the afternoon.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will keep you informed on this topic. If you have any questions, call 413-499-4000.

Tags: unemployment, employers      
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