GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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September 16, 2013

Growing chorus of lawmakers back tech tax appeal

BOSTON — It doesn’t happen very often, but Massachusetts is about to repeal a tax.

Just implemented on Sept. 1, the new 6.25 percent sales tax on computer and software services is on its deathbed, doomed after an uproar from the business community.

Democratic legislative leaders from both the House and Senate announced at a news conference that they were moving to rescind the unpopular new technology tax, part of the $500-million transportation financing package approved in July. Only a matter of a few weeks old, momentum toward repeal snowballed last week when several top Democratic officials abandoned support for the tax, which business leaders worried would have a negative impact on the state economy.

Republicans, including Gloucester-based Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, filed a bill repealing the tax earlier last week, and the repeal drew support at the end of the week from other State House leaders as well.

‘‘It is now evident that the impact of the tax is broader than any of us ever anticipated or intended,’’ said Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who originally proposed the tax in January as part of his $1.9 billion transportation and education plan, announced his support for repeal on Tuesday. And by Thursday, Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, both announced they’d soon schedule votes in their chambers to bring about the termination of the tech tax.

But Patrick has said he wants an alternative source of revenue to replace the $161 million the tech tax was estimated to have generated.

DeLeo made it clear that would likely not be the case.

‘‘I want to emphatically say: There is going to be no proposal of any new taxes to make up for this revenue,’’ DeLeo said, adding that he anticipated no state budget cuts as a result of the repeal.

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