Political Intelligence

Tech council president decries new computer software tax

The head of a Massachusetts technology business group decried the new state tax on some computer software services in an interview aired today.

Christopher R. Anderson, the president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, said the tax would hurt the state’s high-tech economy.

“Any tax on the technology economy is a threat,” he said.

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“And, in this particular case, there are hundreds of small businesses calling every week saying that this is going to negatively impact them,” he said in an interview on WBZ-TV.

Anderson said there are at least 15 “peer states” who are vying for technology companies and workers in Massachusetts.

“When we impose a tax that no other state in the country imposes as broadly as this, it is going to have an impact on those small and midsize companies, initially, in terms of their ability to win and retain business or add or retain employees,” he said.

“In fact, a number of them are telling me they may have to shed employees just to maintain the business load they have,” Anderson added in the interview with WBZ’s Jon Keller.

Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott urged Massachusetts businesses to move to his state, citing a better tax environment.

The Massachusetts computer software services tax was passed into law last month as part of the Legislature’s plan to boost financing for the state’s aging transportation infrastructure.

The transportation finance law also included increased taxes on tobacco products and gasoline.

Supporters of the plan have said the new taxes were necessary to support a strong transportation system in the state for years to come, which will benefit both residents and businesses.

The new revenue is set to help pay for the MBTA, Massachusetts Department of Transportation personnel, regional transit authorities and some construction projects.

Anderson’s group, along with a number of big Bay State companies, is helping to push a 2014 ballot question to repeal the tax.

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