Five Things: Tech Tax Roundtables, Tim Murray’s $10K personal fine, Nate Little Resigns and more

Tech Tax Roundtables

The Massachusetts Republican Caucuses have held their series of Tech Tax Roundtables and have been getting very good press coverage.  Here’s a roundup.

Mike Ryan, who declined to name the company for which he works, said software and technology companies could relocate because the tax is hurting their businesses.

Start-up companies may look elsewhere, he said.

“If this keeps going on there are going to be no tech jobs in this state,” said Ryan. “This was poorly thought out.”

Officials from the Corridor Nine, Marlborough Regional and Blackstone Valley Chambers of Commerce also spoke out against the tax, saying it will hamper the success of software and information technology companies.

In the days after the measure passed, members of the three chambers told local legislators that are unhappy with the tax.

“You’re putting our businesses at a disservice,” said Jeannie Hebert, president of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce.-Metro West Daily News

Ebon Elza, owner of EE Networks, was in the process of updating his small company’s sales and use tax on July 30 when his bookkeeper – his wife – happened to notice a news bulletin on the state Department of Revenue’s website about a new computer services tax.

She clicked on the link, and Mr. Elza started to scramble.

“I found out on July 30 that I was supposed to start collecting taxes on July 31,” Mr. Elza said. “This was the first I had ever heard of it. It just came out of left field.

“It’s like driving down the Mass Pike and all of a sudden the speed limit goes from 65 mph to 45 mph and no one tells you, until you get pulled over and get a speeding ticket,” Mr. Elza said. –Worcester Telegram

Attorney Scott W. Foster has heard from six computer software businesses interested in joining a lawsuit to block the Massachusetts technology tax.

Scott Foster 2012.jpgScott W. Foster

The tax, an extension of the states’ 6.25 percent sales tax to cover most software purchases is too vague to survive a court challenge, Foster says, with most software vendors unable to figure out exactly what they should tax and what they should not. The state ordered businesses to start collecting July 1, but the rules and guidelines won’t be out until October.

“They need to collect a tax and they don’t know what they will be collecting it on,” Foster, partner at the law firm Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas in Springfield, said.

Foster said a new as-yet-unnamed business group is forming to put fort the suit has not yet been filed. –

Tim Murray personally responsible for $10,000 of $80,000 fines

Tim Murray and Attorney General Martha Coakley have come to an agreement on the fines Tim Murray owes due to his accepting contributions raised by a public employee.  The Boston Globe has the story.

As part of his settlement with the attorney general, Murray’s political committee must pay a $20,000 fine. By Aug. 15, Murray’s campaign account contained more than $227,000. Murray must also personally pay a $10,000 fine. Additionally, Murray must dissolve his political committee and have no involvement with a political fund-raising committee for two years, Coakley’s office said.

Murray’s agreement with the chamber of commerce already prohibits him from campaign involvement.

The second public official, Plante, solicited donations from DOT employees for his son, who was a Murray fund-raiser, according to the agreement. Plante, who makes about $88,000 per year, solicited donations from DOT employees and others for three Murray fund-raisers in Worcester in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the agreement said.

So Murray’s fine is really $10,000 not the $80,000 in the headlines.  In contrast Tim Cahill was personally responsible for the full $100K of his fine.

MassGOP Executive Director Nate Little Resigns

Red Mass Group has learned that Massachusetts Republican Party Executive Director Nate Little, has resigned.  Nate has been a good steward of the Republican Party over the past couple of years.  Sure there were bumps, like the caucus fiasco, but he was implementing the policy of the board of directors.  

Nate was always available to talk about any topics, and in full disclosure was a business client of mine.  Red Mass Group readers should thank Nate for his service.

Tim Buckley is currently serving as interim executvie director until the party can find a replacement.  Red Mass Group has been unable to determine when that will happen.  Stay Tuned…

Dan Wolf Not Resiging after all

The Ethics Commission extended the deadline for Dan Wolf to comply with its ruling, so he won’t be resigning quite yet after all.  The has the story.

Cape Cod Sen. Dan Wolf will not resign from the Senate on Thursday, as he had planned, and will instead formally appeal a State Ethics Commission ruling that found him in violation of conflict of interest laws due to his ownership stake in Cape Air.

The commission on Tuesday granted Wolf an extension until its next public meeting on Sept. 19 to appeal a ruling that gave Wolf three options to comply with the conflict law: resign his Senate seat and suspend his gubernatorial campaign, cease Cape Air operations through Logan International Airport, or divest himself of his interests in Cape Air, a company he founded 25 years ago.

Deval Patrick Returns

After four weeks chilling in his Richmond estate, bought with profits from sub-prime mortgages, Deval Patrick is returning to public life.  The Associated Press has the story.

n his first meeting with reporters in nearly a month, Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday he would meet with lawmakers and business leaders next week to discuss concerns raised about a recently-imposed sales tax on computer and software services.

But Patrick also indicated that the tax, part of a transportation funding plan, would have to be replaced with other new revenue if it was repealed or scaled back.

Patrick spoke at the Old South Meeting House in Boston prior to a bell-ringing ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington.

The governor said he remained fully engaged in state affairs during his vacation, making phone calls and meeting with administration officials.

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