5 Things: Bialecki Peeved at FL Competition, Globe Calls for Tech Tax Repeal, Heroux again & more..

Greg Bialecki is Mad that Florida is Telling the Truth

According to today’s Boston Globe, Massachusetts state leaders, led by Greg Bialecki, the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, are upset at a little competition from Florida.

The governor, Rick Scott, mailed letters this week to 100 business leaders in Massachusetts urging them to “book a one-way ticket to Florida,” now that the Commonwealth has approved higher taxes on gasoline and computer services.

“Florida’s economic formula is working – while Florida’s unemployment rate has seen the second largest drop in the country, Massachusetts’ June unemployment rate increased to the highest since November 2011,” Scott writes in the letter, a copy of which is posted on his website. “While Florida ranks fifth in the nation for our business tax climate, Massachusetts is stuck at number 22, according to the Tax Foundation. It is bound to get worse in Massachusetts, as just last week we saw them raise taxes on gasoline and even computer services.”

Scott’s letter prompted a tart response from Governor Deval Patrick’s economic development secretary, Gregory Bialecki, who argued that Massachusetts has recovered faster and stronger from the recession than the rest of the country.

“I am not surprised that other states wish they had the successful and growing innovation businesses that we have here in Massachusetts,” Bialecki said in a statement. “Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, we have committed to long-term investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure, all good news for companies doing business here. Massachusetts is creating a special environment for a 21st century innovation economy, one that thriving businesses happily call home.”

Well unless those businesses are Fidelity, who is moving all but the C Suite out of the state, or Sealtest which closed their ice cream plant, or the paper industry which has wholesale left, or  well you get the idea…

Oh and never mind that we are ranked 46th in the CNBC business climate rankings…

Boston Globe Editorial Page Calls for Tech Tax repeal

The Boston Globe, yes you read that right, has called for the repeal of the Tech Tax.  Their reasoning? It will kill the innovation economy.

Meanwhile, the question remains as to why lawmakers chose to fund transportation improvements with a technology tax in the first place. Raising the gas tax by an additional 5 cents – which would yield roughly the same amount of revenues as the tech tax is projected to produce – would have been a more sensible approach. The Legislature made matters worse by not seeking any public comments before passing the bill. Critics argue that the state’s projection that the tax will raise $160 million could be wildly off. Given the law’s ambiguous language, corporate technology users – the state’s largest employers and promising start-ups alike – may pay as much as $500 million in additional taxes, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. Amy Pitter, the state’s tax commissioner, stands by her agency’s original analysis, and says she plans to interpret the law as narrowly as possible.

Even so, Massachusetts now has the highest tax on computer and software services in the country. Just three other states tax such services, and none at more than 4 percent. For most Bay State firms, particularly small businesses, their only choice will be to pass the added cost along to customers. This complicated process will almost guarantee Massachusetts’ high-tech companies will lose business to out-of-state competitors. That’s an especially foolish move for a state that values its innovation economy.

Pitter anticipates the tech tax will need technical corrections. Better yet, lawmakers should scrap it altogether.

Rep. Paul Heroux, responded yet again to Red Mass Group

Representative Paul Heroux (D-Attleboro) responded yet again to Red Mass Group to defend his vote to raise taxes.

Don’t you ever get tired of leaving out important details. The Speaker made transportation financing his number one priority. He was not going to let no revenue be an option. Your suggestion that it is just as plausible as there being no tax hike is a fantasy. I voted for the lesser of two evils. The GOP Reps played politics; the Gov wanted a bigger tax plan and they helped move him in that direction. Try explaining the consequences of there being no transportation finance plan. Furthermore, you initial post of my Sun article cut off just at the point when I explained this. And BTW, I didn’t get any recognition from you when I voted against the gas tax in April. I’d say you are cherry picking. The GOP in MA offers no leadership. It is all about picking up a seat here and there. It is not about the people.

So the real truth comes out, what the Speaker wants, the Speaker gets.  You just don’t cross the Speaker when he picks a fight with the Governor.  

Oh and Paul, I did highlight your vote in April.  The article is right here.  

A coalition of all house Republicans, conservative Democrats, Democrats in GOP leaning districts, and progressive Democrats voted against the proposal.  Many of the progressive Democrats who voted against final passage, voted against removing each of the taxes in the bill.  Notably Danielle Gregoire of Marlborough and Denise Andrews of Orange

Claros has second highest Cash on Hand

In the 16th Worcester District Special Election, Repbulican Carol Claros has the second highest cash on hand pre-primary.  The Democratic Primary is this upcoming tuesday.  According to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, here are the fundraising Amounts ranked in order of cash on hand.

Daniel Donahue (D) – $17,549.84

Carol Claros (R) – $7,996.83

Danielle Nanni (D) – $5,113.11

Joshua Perro (D) – $4,754.10

Khrystian King (D) – $3,728.33

James Michael O’Brien (D) – $1,713.19

While Donahue has the most cash on hand, Joshua Perro has spend the most so far, $6,400.  The data covers the first 26 days of July.

18 Ballot Questions proposed for 2013

State House News Service via Wicked Local Beverly:

Sixteen groups filed 33 petitions for laws or state constitutional amendments with Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office Aug. 7.  that range from making casino gambling illegal, raising the minimum wage, and adding the 5-cent bottle deposit to more beverages, to rolling back several different taxes.

Twenty-nine of the petitions are proposing 18 different law changes for the 2014 election, and four constitutional amendments were filed for the 2016 ballot.

Some petitioners submitted more than one version of a question on the same topic. Wednesday’s filing deadline is only the start of the process to get the questions on the ballot for voters to decide.

First, the attorney general will review the questions to determine if they meet constitutional requirements, and can be certified to file with the secretary of state. The certification deadline is Sept. 4. Then, petitioners need to gather 68,911 signatures of registered voters by Dec. 4, 2013.

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno