A Victory For Tech: Mass. Legislature Votes to Repeal Tech Tax


At first confused and blindsided by the ruling, local tech businesses united under the common cause of repeal, forming advocacy groups like the Spark Coalition and organizing events such as the Beacon Hill Blitz. Those fighting against it attacked it from all angles, putting forward a ballot initiative, legislative repeal movement and court injunction.

"I think it shows how business can make a political difference," said Rep. Ryan Fattman. "The business community has been unwilling up until now to take a stand on something and fight for it. I look at that and I say this is great, and it shows people can make a difference when they are seemingly outnumbered."

Tech businesses have been awoken to not only their mobilization power but also engagement in the political sphere, said Widmer, of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

"It takes a crisis like this to get people really energized. I think it opened their eyes to the reality of state government, and I think that's a good thing," Widmer said.

What the repeal amounts to, Fattman said, is a need to overhaul the way government operates in regards to business going forward. Fattman said that, if the necessary research and public hearings had been done, legislators would have seen ahead of time the effect it would have on businesses.

"We're basically sitting here repealing this thing, wasting our time, because it shouldn't have happened in the first place," said Fattman "The whole idea of 'Taxachusetts' is taxing business and taxing industries and entrepreneurship to pay for excessive spending. The business community can learn a great amount of lessons from this. They can fight back and help bring balance to Beacon Hill and ideology."

To that point, Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, said in a statement that the engagement has already begun.

"The Tech Tax has awakened a new generation of tech companies to the vital role they play in our state's current and future economy; together, we look forward to forging a productive partnership with elected officials to advance policies that result in economic and job growth," Anderson said in the statement.

Andrew Faria, a leader in the Spark Coalition and CEO of iMedia Solutions, said that groups such as his will continue to act as an advocate for the tech industry in the state going forward so that businesses can be more unified and forewarned about another such tax on their services.

"There has to be collaboration among organizations, there has to be collaboration among businesses, there has to be collaboration among those two pieces and the government, which I'm already seeing happening," said Faria. "The engagement has already begun. It's not what are we going to do next -- we're already doing it."

PUBLISHED SEPT. 26, 2013