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Massachusetts Set To Repeal Controversial IT Services Tax

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the their-websites-just-mysteriously-started-working-again dept.

Government 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."

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122 comments

Idiots (2)

XanC (644172) | about a year ago | (#44842929)

(see subject)

Re:Idiots (4, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#44842981)

Well at least they're smart enough to try and repeal it. It takes one kind of fool to get involved with a stupid thing. It takes another kind of fool to not change course when it is evident they made a horrible mistake.

Re:Idiots (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#44843041)

The latter kind of fool being commonly known as a 'politician.'

Re:Idiots (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44843211)

Yes, but I have to say after reading the summary, I'm actually quite impressed that the Massachusetts politicians have reversed course on this idiotic tax so quickly. Usually, politicians do exactly like you say: refuse to change course after it's obvious they made a horrible mistake. Maybe I should look into moving to MA....

Re:Idiots (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#44843239)

I'm actually quite impressed that the Massachusetts politicians have reversed course on this idiotic tax so quickly.

I'm surprised they hadn't moved faster - tech consultants aren't just small companies after all, and some of the big boys likely started making noises about "funding opponents" and suchlike.

Re:Idiots (2)

jazman_777 (44742) | about a year ago | (#44843609)

One swallow does not a summer make. It's still Taxachusetts.

Re: Idiots (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year ago | (#44843703)

Thus it is newsworthy when politicians stray into the former group.

They saw a stupid thing, and got involved to fix the stupid thing. Including the guy who created the stupid thing.

We could use more of that in politics. A new policy/tax is created, implemented, and then looked at objectively. "Is this working as intended? Are the people loving it?"

Re:Idiots (1, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44843707)

It is as I have said a billion times, government ALWAYS gets bigger, NEVER smaller. This is why I urged everyone to fight for the smokers as they are the canaries in the coal mine and once the revenue from bleeding them went down (as more and more quit or died out) they would try to screw other groups to make up for the cash they are used to blowing. See talks of fat taxes, sugar taxes, and this dumbass "IT tax".

So next time you hear about a tax against some group, even if it is one you might not personally like, be it smokers, drinkers, fat people, whomever, please use your voice and vote and slap that shit down because remember, ALWAYS bigger NEVER smaller.

Re:Idiots (1)

Pope (17780) | about a year ago | (#44843789)

And the population keeps getting bigger too, never smaller.

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844049)

What we need is a fat tax, a sugar tax, or a dumbass IT tax. Heck, why not all three?

Re:Idiots (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 10 months ago | (#44844699)

I fear for education in the future as many states fund it through sin taxes.

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843841)

Why are they idiots? States tax things. That is what they do. Taxes aren't stupid.

Pennsylvania has had this same tax since 1991!

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44845259)

Lol you are so stupid. Thanks for the laugh! Hope you die soon, retard.

Sounds about right... (5, Funny)

FSWKU (551325) | about a year ago | (#44842975)

"Idiots make laws they know nothing about, without doing any research into the possible consequences. Film at 11."

Re:Sounds about right... (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year ago | (#44843309)

Why all the name calling? If they are such idiots, then why is it that when they see reason, they react to correct the problem? You should be commending these people for realizing their mistake and working to fix it. Otherwise, you will end up with more "stay the course" politicians who are unapologetic when they make a mistake.

Re:Sounds about right... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843377)

I am sorry, but you seem to be confusing "People who recognize their mistakes when said mistakes are pointed out to them" with "People who do research and learn about a subject before doing something." The later group learns to swim. The former figure out that swimming is not a natural skill after having been rescued by a life guard.

Re:Sounds about right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843627)

Government action has unanticipated consequences. Film at 11.

Re:Sounds about right... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844059)

But without even knowing what it was taxing, they determined it would add $161 million in revenue!

Wishful thinking (1)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about a year ago | (#44842991)

It would be nice if lawmakers put any effort at all into evaluating the effects that their laws will have...

Re:Wishful thinking (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44843095)

They did -- they predicted it would generate $161 million in revenue. The problem is, they studiously overlooked any *other* effects, like driving all technology companies out of Massachusetts and into neighboring states that don't have such a tax. This is typical. The applicable phrase is "lies of omission."

Re:Wishful thinking (2)

celle (906675) | about a year ago | (#44843357)

"The applicable phrase is "lies of omission."

      The real phrase is "tunnel vision". All they saw was the imaginary $161 million collection which I'm sure they've already spent.

cap -- anaconda

Re:Wishful thinking (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44843753)

You're right -- Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] probably applies.

Where is the line between incompetence and dereliction?

Re:Wishful thinking (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44843775)

like driving all technology companies out of Massachusetts and into neighboring states that don't have such a tax.

Isn't this tax applied at the point of delivery? That is: Upon the buyer of the IT services, based upon their location within the state?

Re:Wishful thinking (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44843099)

I hear that things have gotten so bad in the wake of this law that young hotheads are wandering around stealing, fighting, and drinking in some of the tougher Boston neighborhoods.

Death and Taxes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843005)

Death and Taxes. Two things you can always rely on.

Oh, and more NSA spying.

Death, Taxes and NSA spying. Three things you can always rely on.

Re:Death and Taxes (2)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44843291)

Death, Taxes, NSA Spying, and a fanatical devotion to the pope! Oh, now that's four things. Among the things you can always relay on are...

Re:Death and Taxes (1)

Pope (17780) | about a year ago | (#44843795)

What about cake? I heard I got the choice between death and cake!

Re:Death and Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844253)

Well, we're all out of cake. But we have lots of NSA spying still...

Re:Death and Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844503)

Death, Taxes, NSA Spying, and a fanatical devotion to the pope! Oh, now that's four things. Among the things you can always relay on are...

And with this comment I would add ignorance.

Re:Death and Taxes (1)

celle (906675) | about a year ago | (#44843383)

"Death and Taxes."

        Not if the tax collectors/instigators are killed before they can implement/collect the taxes then it's just death. Down to one to rely on.

Re:Death and Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843447)

That leads to warlords, which leads to other taxes / tax-like things.

Stop passing the law to find out what's in it (5, Insightful)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | about a year ago | (#44843013)

I swear, the way laws get passed in this country is like pushing any commit from a developer straight into production based on its commit message, without even a code review process.

Re:Stop passing the law to find out what's in it (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44843065)

That is completely accurate. Though to perfect the analogy, the legislatures take the extra step of giving major customers (lobbyists) commit access to the same code repo (draft laws are frequently written by lobbyists).

Re:Stop passing the law to find out what's in it (2)

cleancut (16625) | about a year ago | (#44843339)

I think this poster may be alluding to this brilliant utterance. [youtube.com]

Re:Stop passing the law to find out what's in it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843379)

RACIST!!!

Re:Stop passing the law to find out what's in it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843433)

Stop passing the law to find out what's in it

I think that's one of the rare cases where they new EXACTLY what is in it. Only problem is that they under-estimated the amount of outrage it would generate, so they are backing out.

Re:Stop passing the law to find out what's in it (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44843653)

Take comfort in the fact that this is not a new development. Legislatures have been mostly incompetent since forever. It hasn't meant the demise of society. The Indiana Pi bill, for example [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Stop passing the law to find out what's in it (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#44844149)

I swear, the way laws get passed in this country is like pushing any commit from a developer straight into production based on its commit message, without even a code review process.

Have you ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger Effect? [wikipedia.org]

Net impact: anybody who thinks that he is qualified to rule other people is not. Those who might potentially do the best job stay as far away from it as possible. The result is as expected.

Re:Stop passing the law to find out what's in it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44845305)

That's why it should be a lottery. Make it like jury duty.

Pick A Side! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843017)

Pass it. Repeal it. Pass it. Postpone it.

FFS, just pick one, will ya'? Your state needs the tax dollars, so it's not so bad. But people don't like to pay taxes on this (or any, actually) kind of work, so it's bad.

Nothing is ever going to please everyone, but going back and forth on this shit makes sure that nobody will be happy with you. Asshats.

Re:Pick A Side! (2)

kimvette (919543) | about a year ago | (#44843199)

> Your state needs the tax dollars, so it's not so bad.

I disagree. Taxachusetts needs to drastically cut administrative overhead and slash thousands of public hack jobs.

Re:Pick A Side! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843257)

> Your state needs the tax dollars, so it's not so bad.

I disagree. Taxachusetts needs to drastically cut administrative overhead and slash thousands of public hack jobs.

Just how BIG is your Legislature?! Anyway, I pretty sure the Constitution of the Common Wealth demands one exists.

Re:Pick A Side! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843591)

He is not referring to the state legislature. He is referring to the myriad of other state funded public sector jobs. He is saying the state government is over-funded, bloated, and in need of an enema.

Re:Pick A Side! (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44843717)

and in need of an enema.

Covered by Obama-care.

Re:Pick A Side! (0)

Pope (17780) | about a year ago | (#44843813)

I disagree. Taxachusetts needs to drastically cut administrative overhead and slash thousands of public hack jobs.

I'll take "Perennial right wing talking points" for $200, Alex.

Re:Pick A Side! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844335)

So from which government teat do you suckle your daily sustenance, my socialist friend?

Re:Pick A Side! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843631)

I know! Right?

This whole thing is playing havoc with my plans to open offsite support call center and colo in Nashua, NH.

Massachusetts legislature admits incompetence (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44843021)

So the legislature admits they passed a law with no idea what its impact would be. As a voter and taxpayer in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, I say with all due respect: WTF?!

I mean, they get points for admitting a blunder and backpedaling furiously, but the hubris of passing laws nobody in the legislature understands is mind-boggling. Just, wow.

If the incumbent in my district has an opponent on the ballot for a change, I sure will consider voting for him/her. (Most state and local offices around here have only one candidate. Another democracy fail.)

Re:Massachusetts legislature admits incompetence (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44843227)

I mean, they get points for admitting a blunder and backpedaling furiously, but the hubris of passing laws nobody in the legislature understands is mind-boggling. Just, wow.

To be fair, this seems to be the norm for almost all legislatures, at least here in America. Look at Congress and ObamaCare; no one even read the thing before passing it. Most laws are written by lobbyists these days, and given a rubber-stamp by legislators who are in the pay of those lobbyists.

Re:Massachusetts legislature admits incompetence (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 10 months ago | (#44844713)

How/Why is the ACA your example?

Re:Massachusetts legislature admits incompetence (1)

roninmagus (721889) | about a year ago | (#44843231)

I have read before that legislators often don't even write the laws; they are written by lobbyists who persuade legislators to sign off on it. I don't know the veracity of that claim, but more often than not, it seems feasible.

Re:Massachusetts legislature admits incompetence (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44843325)

I can believe that, but if the legislators don't even provide an effective filter on the draft laws the lobbyists write, then the legislators' only possible functions are to conceal the source (read, deceive the public) and to assume blame. So, they asked for it!

Re:Massachusetts legislature admits incompetence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843237)

Having lived in Massachusetts, how in the world are you surprised? My memory of elections in Massachusetts politics was along the line of democrate, democrate, democrate and someone who didn't want to admit being a democrate. (Yes, it could be worse, but i'm just commenting on the political diversity not political opinion.) And the quote:

'It is now evident that the impact of the tax is broader than any of us ever anticipated or intended."

should be tattoed on the forhead of every politition as soon as they are elected.

Re:Massachusetts legislature admits incompetence (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44843581)

"No taxation, without representation!", was the cry, way back in the American Revolution times.

It seems taxation with representation isn't much better either.

Quite ironic that this is happening in the state where the Boston Tea Party was brewed . . . over taxes.

Re:Massachusetts legislature admits incompetence (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 10 months ago | (#44845081)

So the legislature admits they passed a law with no idea what its impact would be.

That is only because they didn't listen to their constituents. Everyone ELSE knew what the impact would be, except for the people passing the law.

deja vous all over again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843031)

we have to PASS the bill to find out what's in it!

Exact same thing happened in Maryland (5, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | about a year ago | (#44843059)

They imposed a sales tax on "computer services" [washingtonpost.com] that created such outrage, it was repealed before it even went into effect. [salestaxinstitute.com]

Re:Exact same thing happened in Maryland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843619)

The various Maryland IT Services firms (aka Beltway bandits) made it clear that they could and would easily move across the border to Virginia.

People can get behind tax repeals but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843087)

... ask Them to get outraged about the NSA trying to shove a leash up Your ass, fuggedabowdit!

If you want less of something, tax it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843107)

Subject says it all.

incorrect summary (3, Funny)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#44843135)

It says Massachusetts is going to repeal a tax but we all know that can't possibly be right. ;-)

Masachussetts Time Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843179)

Massachusetts 1765: "Taxation without representation!"

Massachusetts 2013: "Taxation without implementation!"

So... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44843213)

There might be hope for Taxachusettes, yet.

Nah, just kidding! "They just want your money to turn around and buy votes with programs" continues as a successfully descriptive theory, unchallenged, like relativity and quantum mechanics.

Re:So... (0)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about a year ago | (#44843391)

>"They just want your money to turn around and buy votes with programs"

The fact that Republicans keep making this claim due to their anti-social perspective doesn't make it true, even if they actually believe it due to living in a far-right-wing echo-chamber, and only serves to alienate anyone who believes in western civilization.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843733)

And the fact that you have your head up your ass and ignore the truth of it doesn't make it not true: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAOwJvTOio

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844179)

I vote for Obama because he bought me an Obamaphone! Obamaphone! What other politicians get you a free phone? No one, that's who! Obamaphone for life!

So What? (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about a year ago | (#44843221)

So some "well-intended" politicians decide to legislate on the basis of "it sounds like a good idea and it's going to save us" and it turns out it was ill-informed, ill-conceived and the full ramifications were not considered.

We just nationalized our health-care industry (and a significant portion of our national economy by extension) on this same basis and we cheered it as a moral duty and an advancement of our society.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAt54NKsRRk

Think of all the children you will feed with that $161 million, shut up and pay the tax like a good blue state, or we'll go all over the media and call you bigots and racists.

We've had this tax in Washington State since 2009. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843247)

I just sell "database storage space". The software and processing is free!

How did they come up with estimate? (3, Interesting)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#44843329)

I am curious how they can come up with estimate of how much the tax would generate, while also not having a clearly defined scope of what the tax would cover.

It'd be like someone saying they want to buy a car, and me saying it'll cost $20k. The term "car" covers a wide, wide range of possible options, and to give an ballpark figure would be nigh impossible with any accuracy unless I knew the specifics.

Re:How did they come up with estimate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843659)

Easily, by blindly assuming that everything will go the way you want it.

Want to cut taxes for the rich but remain "revenue neutral"? Simple; lower income taxes for the rich, reduce deductions (for EVERYONE) and blindly assume that the rich wouldn't find a new tax loophole to make up the difference.

Re:How did they come up with estimate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44845067)

I am equally confused, but I feel your car analogy stops a bit short of the finish line. $20k is a pretty good ball park for a car, after all. I would go so far as to call it a median purchase price.

It would be more like someone saying they want to buy an indeterminate number of wheeled vehicles and you saying it'll be $20k, before determining that they were actually talking about tricycles for their kids.

Typical politicians (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year ago | (#44843333)

...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.

Instead of saving money by making existing infrastructure more efficient, such as by changing their tolls to variable congestion tolls as a means of permanently eliminating traffic congestion... they raise taxes.

Simple (1)

davide marney (231845) | about a year ago | (#44843367)

This would all be much easier if the NSA would simply set up automatic transfers from our bank accounts to the Treasury so the feds can just take what they need.

It's called customer service.

Massachusetts is a One Party State (1, Insightful)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about a year ago | (#44843389)

In Massachusetts, one party is completely dominant, to the point that 81% of the House, 90% of the Senate, and the Governor are all from the same party. It doesn't matter which party, this kind of stupidity is rampant in one party states because there is little criticism in most areas of law until after the fact. Utah has similar numbers for the other party, so I imagine the same stupidity happens there.

Software is big business in MA, and one of the few growth areas outside of biotech. Did we want to kill a golden goose?

Same with Wisconsin (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | about 10 months ago | (#44844383)

You should see all the blatant racist policies that have gone into effect. We are ranked #49 on economic growth, yet the supporters are running that in the past 45 days we are ranked 3rd in economic growth in the midwest THANKS GOVERNOR WALKER!!! It's so so bad.

Re:Same with Wisconsin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844615)

Not true about here at all. We voted 7% more for Obama than for Rmoney. I don't know a single CONservative here. This is a diehard Democrat state, and it has been since the sensible people here abandoned the Repukians because of their support of the Bennett Law. I paid attention in state history class. Apparently you didn't.

Re:Massachusetts is a One Party State (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 10 months ago | (#44844739)

So it seems Madison was right: The larger the republic, the less influence a single faction can have.

As someone from Massachusetts (3, Insightful)

Lucas123 (935744) | about a year ago | (#44843397)

Believe me, we were all in shock over this. You cannot create something in this state without the government hanging a tax on it. And, once that tax is in place and the bureaucracy suckling on the tax teat it is established, it's a permanent fixture. You'll never see a bureaucracy go away. Years ago, after returning home from a five-year stint in California, to my surprise, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sent me an "excise tax" bill on my beat up car; the tax is, in fact, an ad valorem tax (based on the value of the car). I called my mom to ask what the heck it was and she simply stated: "Yeah, they tax driving in Massachusetts. Is it any wonder the Bay State got the moniker: Taxachusetts?

Re:As someone from Massachusetts (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843473)

Unlike most red states that just hold their hands out to the federal government for money?

Seriously - stuff costs money. The blue states just have to pay for it themselves, on top of throwing billions at the hicks below the Mason Dixon line.

Re:As someone from Massachusetts (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843617)

Your comment has been down modded as you failed to pay the Massachusetts State Online Message board Tax

Re:As someone from Massachusetts (1)

Drew617 (3034513) | about a year ago | (#44843697)

I live here and cringe when I pay the excise too, but I really think ranting against it is generally bogus.

A few years back I bought a house across the border in NH. You know, the place with all the libertarians and no taxes and Live Free Or Die, Motherfucker! I was shocked when it $500 or so to register my car there - the fee (not "tax") is calculated based on the MSRP and age of your car, just like down here. Nice going, guys.

Come to think of it, they did the same thing in Arizona when I lived there.

I'd guess that some states don't do this at all, but certainly more than just ours do. Personally, I feel better about paying a "tax" than "yeah, this $500 is what it costs for two licenses plates and a slip of paper."

Libertarians (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44843953)

You know, the place with all the libertarians and no taxes and Live Free Or Die, Motherfucker! I was shocked when it $500 or so to register my car there - the fee (not "tax") is calculated based on the MSRP and age of your car, just like down here. Nice going, guys.

Ever consider that it might be stuff like that that tends to push people into the libertarian party?

But yeah, different states are different. To look at how much tax a state differs by you have to look at a lot of taxes - and quite a few states seem to have a tax on just about everything. Sales tax or no sales tax? Are counties/cities allowed to assess their own tax? Is it all through property taxes? Do you only tax 'land' property, or do you also tax vehicles, and what about other assets? There is at least one state where you're supposed to pay a property tax on any items you have above a certain value, such as jewelry. Gas taxes, fuel taxes, phone taxes, income taxes etc...

It can get crazy.

Re:Libertarians (1)

Drew617 (3034513) | about 10 months ago | (#44844115)

Sure. I don't generally agree with libertarian principles, but I don't think the people who do are nuts/wrong/etc. What really got to me in that case, at the RMV in Epping that day, was that NH's method of collecting my money was totally disingenuous. Taxing me is one thing; calling it something else and pretending not to collect taxes is another.

Re:Libertarians (1)

Drew617 (3034513) | about 10 months ago | (#44844177)

*I do realize that NH isn't actually tax-free, and never had that expectation. I did expect not to pay a vehicle excise tax, though, and my experience when I lived there was that my neighbors though of it as the anti-Massachusetts - no sales, income taxes, etc.

Re:Libertarians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844425)

Well, come on over to Ontario and you can have it all the worst ways. 13% tax on transferring your vehicle, $300 a year for personalized plates, $35 every two if you're lucky enough to pass emissions tests (where all they do is plug in an OBD reader for 5 seconds), and let's not forget the mandatory insurance.

If all I had to pay was $500 one lousy time I'd be happy as a pig in shit. But then again, what's a government for? :P

Re:Libertarians (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about 10 months ago | (#44844475)

Taxing me is one thing; calling it something else and pretending not to collect taxes is another.

No real argument there. There's a difference between charging $25 for a pair of license plates because that's what they cost, having a static fee for type/weight of vehicle for the road funds, and charging on the basis of the blue book value of the vehicle - so a sucky 10 year old F-350 is cheaper than a new Prius.

Honesty is good if you're going to do it.

That being said, as a moderate libertarian I don't consider 'tax' a bad word, since I believe that we should have a budget that's balanced on average. You can't do that without taxes. However, said taxes should be clear and relatively simple.

There are extreme libertarians out there that think differently, of course, just as there are people who call themselves libertarian that only do so because 'anarchist' is a dirty word that they don't want to be associated with.

I believe that there should be a government, but limited in scope - to put it into technological terms, think of a cell phone. As a libertarian I want my 'cell phone' to be a simple flip phone, not a smart phone. But just because I don't want my phone to have email, games, web browsing, and such doesn't mean that I don't want it to have good cell reception, voice quality, battery life, etc...

All too often in becoming bloated in scope(smart phone), we see massive increases in costs(they give away flip phones today for $30), functionality quality loss, etc... So, Law Enforcement is a 'core' government duty, so it should be effective law enforcement. Defense of the nation, courts, etc...

Re:As someone from Massachusetts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44843997)

Years ago, after returning home from a five-year stint in California, to my surprise, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sent me an "excise tax" bill on my beat up car;

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that tax go to the cities and towns? Not to the state?

Mostly to pay for roads and public works at the city or town level?

I know I make out my check to my local town, not to the Mass DoR.

Personally I think that's a better deal than it going into the State's coffers. At least I can see where my tax dollars go and I have a little more say in how it's spent.

Re:As someone from Massachusetts (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 10 months ago | (#44844205)

That is a property tax, just like homeowners tax. It isn't taxing driving. THAT tax is on the gas.

Re:As someone from Massachusetts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844939)

But I already paid tax on the car when I bought it-- sales tax. It's financed into the loan I took out when I purchased the car. You mean there would be an additional tax on my car, just for owning it, even if I do not drive it?

Whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843411)

Massachusetts actually repealing a tax? I better call Sister Hannah, hell is freezing over.

the lunacy of unintended consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843427)

"It is now evident that we are idiots".

what the f* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843451)

>'It is now evident that the impact of the tax is broader than any of us ever anticipated or intended,'

'It is now evident that there was no impact analysis done as the impact of the tax is broader than any of us ever anticipated or intended,'

There fixed that for you...

Tax-achusetts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44843601)

They repeal one, and raise another. Last month the state's gas tax rose by 3 cents a gallon to 26.5 cents a gallon

Re:Tax-achusetts (1)

Alex Pennace (27488) | about 10 months ago | (#44845115)

They repeal one, and raise another. Last month the state's gas tax rose by 3 cents a gallon to 26.5 cents a gallon

More like "they raised/implemented multiple taxes and then subsequently repealed one." The gasoline tax hike was part of the same bill as the tax that was just repealed.

Re:Tax-achusetts (1)

Alex Pennace (27488) | about 10 months ago | (#44845163)

The gasoline tax hike was part of the same bill as the tax that they are considering repealing.

Fixed that for myself.

Why elect representatives? (1)

Koby77 (992785) | about 10 months ago | (#44843975)

If lawmakers can't be trusted to competently create the laws, why do we bother to elect representatives and give them a salary? More and more I think that we should just fire the lawmakers and all their legislative assistants, and instead spend the money on a secure discussion and voting platform.

So... why was this tax a bad idea? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44844619)

Am I correct in understanding that 'computer services' are exempt from sales taxe? If so, why? And why is it wrong to correct that?

Re:So... why was this tax a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44845673)

How else could the tax system be made even more complicated, convoluted and unfairly favouring arbitrary parts of the society?

Caught with... (1)

MrSoccerMom (529763) | about 10 months ago | (#44844703)

their hands in the cookie jar.

So, if we can mobilize to get a tax break (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 months ago | (#44844865)

why the heck can't we do the same to stem the tide of cheap foreign labor and plummeting wages?
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