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State Senate may revisit tech tax, lawmaker says

Facing a chorus of consternation from the business community, a member of the Senate leadership said the chamber could revisit the new tax on computer services, but he said the state would need to find new revenues to replace those lost.

“We need to look at it a lot more. Certainly a repeal is an option,” Richard Moore, an Uxbridge Democrat, told reporters Tuesday. If the tax is repealed or “put on the shelf,” then lawmakers will need to “figure out where we’re going to make up some of this certain amount of revenue,” Moore said.

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As part of the $500 million tax package that went into effect July 31, lawmakers steered existing revenue streams to transportation and replenished the state’s general fund with tobacco taxes and a new application of the 6.25 percent sales tax on computer software design and network services. A 3-cent gas tax set to rise with inflation was also part of the package that passed both the House and Senate overwhelmingly despite a veto from Governor Deval Patrick.

Since the tax went into effect, efforts to repeal it have gained steam among some lawmakers and members of the public seeking to put a repeal question to voters in 2014.

“It certainly, probably needed more vetting than it got,” said Moore, who voted for the overall package. “It was out there for six months; the governor proposed it; the Ways and Means committees, I think tried to narrow the definition, but it’s not an easy area of activity to clearly define, because there’s a lot of gray area and a lot of overlap. I think it might have been too complex a plan to try to put through as part of that package.”

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