At least five gubernatorial candidates back software tax repeal

Gubernatorial hopeful Steven Grossman, the state treasurer, said today he supports repealing a controversial tax on computer software services that was voted into law earlier this summer.

The tax, dubbed the “tech tax,” was passed into law in July as part of the Legislature’s package to help pay for the state’s aging transportation system. But it has drawn strong opposition from an influential swath of the business community, which supports its repeal and says it will harm the state’s technology sector.

“The software tax is ill-conceived, and we can’t allow it to stand,” Grossman said today in a statement. “It hurts businesses by making the Commonwealth an outlier in an industry in which companies can move anywhere at anytime. That’s a serious threat to our innovation economy, and it needs to be repealed.”

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At least four other candidates running for governor in 2014 have also said they believe the new tax should be repealed.

-- Republican Charles Baker, who launched his campaign last week and is widely expected to be the GOP’s nominee, said in an interview and a news conference last week he is strongly in favor of rolling back the tax.

-- Democrat Juliette N. Kayyem, a former federal and state homeland security official, said last month that she believed the tax should be repealed.

-- Biotechnology executive Joseph Avellone, a Democrat, opposed the tax “in the beginning and supports its repeal,” according to a spokesman.

-Evan Falchuk, who is running for governor as the United Independent Party candidate, also supports the law’s repeal, he said today in a statement.

Other candidates’ positions on the tax were not as clear-cut.

Democrat Donald M. Berwick, a former Obama administration health care official, said he was still mulling whether the tax should be repealed.

“It’s a complex issue,” he said.

Democratic State Senator Daniel A. Wolf, who has suspended his campaign for governor, said in a statement he “would only consider supporting a repeal of the tech tax if the revenue were to be replaced by a progressive tax.”