One Down, One To Go: Mass. House Votes To Repeal Tech Tax


Representatives Bradley Jones, George Peterson, Bradford Hill, Elizabeth Poirier and Viriato deMacedo put forward an amendment that would require public hearings on all tax bills and make committee hearings public and calls for an economic analysis study of all new taxes. Rep. Fattman, who supported the amendment, said the changes would give greater transparency and understanding to new taxes that will affect the Commonwealth.

"I think what you see sometimes is that it takes an incident or an episode like this to kind of change the prism that you look at government through, and this might be just that type of vehicle," Rep. Kuros said at the press conference. "There's an old adage -- if you don't learn from the past, you're destined to repeat it."

Rep. Jones said before the vote during the formal session that, while he has helped spearhead the fight against the tax, its repeal was still bittersweet.

"I thought that this was a great day, an exciting day. But in reality, it's bittersweet because as happy as I am that we primarily ... were right from day one and that I should be very excited that we are repealing this tax today -- and I am, and I know that is a positive step for our economy -- but then I thought how sad it is that during this session, the positive thing is undoing a stupid thing we did six weeks ago. And if that's how we do it going forward, we're not going to improve our economy at all," said Rep. Jones in his speech.

Rep. Brian Dempsey, who had remained strong in his support of the tax, distributed a memo among the House on why others should hold fast as well. In a speech before the vote, while he recommended the repeal of the tax, he maintained there had been hearings and positive feedback from the business community prior to the implementation. Other members such as Rep. Angelo Scaccia continued to support the tax, saying it didn't tax innovation because it didn't tax the cloud.

Multiple amendments were also proposed during the session, including a tax break for small businesses and the waiving of the gas tax. However, none were passed because they were not within the scope of the bill for repeal.

While the tax was repealed, the road to recovery through future political involvement is not over, said business leaders.

"It's just the first step through a long, long journey through Massachusetts innovation and technology policy," said iMedia's Faria, who added that the Spark Coalition will continue to operate as an advocate for the tech community going forward.

The Senate is speculated to vote tomorrow on the issue, which would solidify the repeal of the tax.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 25, 2013