Look Out Massachusetts Tech Tax, Repeal Movement Is Gaining Ground


The meeting comes just a day after local tech businesses held an event called "Beacon Hill Blitz" in which they attempted to flood the Massachusetts legislature with calls concerned about the tax. While the event fell short of its goal with an estimated 300 calls placed out of the 400 hoped for, Brian Cardarella, partner at Boston-based DockYard and organizer of the event, said that it was a good turnout for a historically sleepy industry.

Cardarella said he hopes there will be even more calls for the second event, which he will organize if Sen. Karen Spilka's motion to repeal the tax makes it before the legislature.

"I know that for people who haven't been politically engaged in the past, it can be difficult to make those calls," Cardarella said. "We're going to have to work on that."

Rep. Fattman said that he was really excited to see the Blitz and other grassroots movements fight back against the tax.

"I would commend all those people who stepped up to the plate. It's an awesome effort," Fattman said, adding that he plans to help knocking on doors and collecting signatures for the petition to get the measure put on the 2014 ballot.

The petition, championed by Widmer and his colleagues, overcame its first hurdle Wednesday as the state attorney general approved its constitutionality and allowed it to move forward to collect signatures. The attorney general certified 28 petitions in total covering 14 topics, most not relating the tech tax.

"We're pleased that we have a green light," Widmer said. "We expected that it would be certified but were pleased that it passed this first hurdle. We're going to go full steam ahead and begin to collect signatures."

Next up for the petition is collecting the more than 68,911 registered voters' signatures to actually get the measure on the ballot. Last year, only three of the 31 petitions certified by the attorney general actually made it onto the state ballot.

Though the process wasn't near to complete, Widmer said he was hopeful for the tax's repeal.

"We've made lots of headway," he said.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 4, 2013