BOSTON (AP) — The state's short-lived attempt to tax computer and software services came to an end Friday when Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill repealing the unpopular tax after less than two months.
The governor's office announced the signing in a one-sentence release with no comment from Patrick.
The House and Senate voted this week to approve the bill repealing the 6.25 percent tax that was part of transportation financing package approved by lawmakers over the summer. The tax went into effect July 31 and drew intense criticism from technology companies that warned it would stifle innovation and cost jobs.
Patrick, who held a private meeting with business leaders and top lawmakers this month to discuss the so-called tech tax, had previously said he favored repeal but was worried how the state would make up the estimated $161 million the tax was expected to generate for the state in the current fiscal year.
The Legislature did not offer any alternative revenue source in the repeal bill. Democratic leaders pointed out that overall state tax collections were running higher than anticipated and would likely offset the loss from the tax.
Only one legislator, state Rep. Angelo Scaccia, D-Boston, voted against repeal — giving Patrick little recourse even had he sought to veto or amend the bill.
Ann Dufresne, a spokeswoman for the state revenue department, said 192 taxpayers had paid a total of $717,000 in taxes on computer and software services through Sept. 23.
The repeal bill included language requiring that any taxes already paid be refunded, and the department planned to post information on its website Friday explaining how vendors could apply for an abatement and return the tax payments to customers, Dufresne said.
Business groups including the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation were gathering signatures to put a repeal question on next year's state ballot if lawmakers did not act first.
"The Legislature's recognition of the impact of this tax and the importance of a speedy repeal will help to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the Massachusetts economy," MTF president Michael Widmer said in a statement.