Massachusetts Set To Repeal Controversial IT Services Tax 122

Nerval's Lobster writes "Massachusetts lawmakers have agreed to repeal a six-week-old tax on computer services that generated such outrage that even the governor who proposed the tax in January now opposes it. The 6.25 percent sales tax on 'computer system design services' was proposed by Gov. Deval Patrick in January, but got little notice before it was slipped in mid-July into a $500 million supplementary funding bill meant to pay for improvements in the state's public transportation system. It was passed by the legislature with almost no debate, was signed into law by the governor with little public outrage, and went into effect – theoretically – July 31. IT businesses in the state used social media, business associations and angry letters to both lawmakers and local media to describe problems with the tax and show their opposition. Confusion over what qualifies as a 'computer system design service' and how to actually implement the tax – which was supposed to generate $161 million in revenue for the state – has been such a challenge to implement that the state has yet to collect a dime. The main logistical problem is figuring out what is covered and what isn't: data access, data processing and 'information services,' for example, are not taxed, which exempts most hosting, cloud, outsourcing and remote-access monitoring or security services. Democratic leaders announced Sept. 12 they would support repeal of the tax, which could be completed within weeks. 'It is now evident that the impact of the tax is broader than any of us ever anticipated or intended,' according to Mass. Senate President Therese Murray at a press conference Sept. 12."

Boulder's Tech Workers Cope With Historic Flood 85

dcblogs writes "Boulder Co. was recently ranked first in nation for its 'high-tech start-up density,' for cities of its size by the Kauffman Foundation. The ranking is based on a ratio of start-ups to population. But the tech community has left its downtown offices, some of which are flooded and others under threat. Normally there are 70 people working in Gnip's office, but Chris Moody, the CEO, in response to request from the city to get traffic off roads, closed the office. In another part of downtown, TeamSnap's building was flooding, and Dave DuPont, its CEO, said his only commute option was 'by boat.' The city's decision to ask businesses to close was a sign 'that the worse might still be in front us,' said Moody."

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