The Massachusetts House of Representative on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to repeal the controversial tax on software services, just two months after it was adopted as part of a transportation finance bill and before any money was collected.
By a 156-to-1 margin, the House voted to abolish the measure, which applied the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax to a range of software services such as building Web pages and computer consulting services. The Senate is expected to take up the bill Thursday and it could be sent to Governor Deval Patrick this week. Patrick, who initially supported the new tax, has said he will go along with the repeal.
Massachusetts business leaders praised the House decision.
“We recognize and appreciate the leadership demonstrated in the legislature by agreeing to repeal the tech tax before it inflicted further harm on our state’s innovators and small business owners,” said Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Wednesday’s vote resulted from lawmakers listening to business leaders about the effect of the tax. “We learned of the burden of this tax,” he said. “Our strong commitment to business and the innovation economy led to its repeal.”
Still, debate in the House grew heated at times as some lawmakers lashed out at Patrick for pushing Beacon Hill to pass a transportation finance package that raised taxes on gas, cigarettes, and computer services, but then called for repeal of the software tax once the business community applied pressure.
Rep. Angelo Scaccia, a Democrat from Readville, cast the single vote against repeal, arguing it is unfair to retain a tax on cigarettes but not software.
“We’re keeping the addictive tax, because that’s just poor people who have an addiction, but we are giving away the tax for people who could afford it,” he said.
Michael B. Farrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.