BOSTON — The House of Representatives on Wednesday repealed the much maligned "tech tax" that had been part of the revenue package in this year's state budget.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
By: Berkshire Chamber of Commerce On: 03:09PM / Thursday February 04, 2010
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.