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Memo to the Legislature
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Read any good tax legislation lately?

Read any good tax legislation lately?

As we wrote in our memo to you on April 24th, “ While you’re preparing to begin applying the sales tax to services with an obscure new sales tax on computer services that no one seems to understand, let us share our institutional memory with you about the last time the Legislature tried this, to its embarrassment.”

We then told you the story of the last attempt, by Governor Dukakis in 1990, to apply the sales tax to various services, and how it was repealed by Gov. Weld and a contrite Legislature the next year. We suggested you might want to understand Gov. Patrick’s proposed new tax on computer services before you voted for it.

We didn’t understand it ourselves, but as the Dept. of Revenue valiantly struggles to interpret it, after it went into effect and businesses, if they could determine by themselves that it applied to them, were told to charge it immediately, we understand enough to know that it was a very bad idea. You are hearing now how bad from members of the technology community who were told to implement it whatever it is, and are planning a petition drive to repeal it.

Since we have worked on petition drives with some leaders of this effort, we are sure they will get the signatures. While we would love to see it on the ballot in November 2014 with incumbents who voted for it, as their opponents use it as a showcase of both economic and lawmaking cluelessness, we responsibly must hope that it be repealed immediately before it does further damage to our job-creating sector.

We are grateful to those legislators who voted against it and are trying to repeal it now. Best wishes.

Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665