NEW: Block Calls for Rhode Island Recruitment of MA Tech Firms
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Gubernatorial candidate Ken Block is calling on Rhode Island leaders to immediately launch a recruitment drive to persuade Massachusetts technology businesses to relocate to Rhode Island. Massachusetts recently enacted a new 6.25% tax on software services.
"Massachusetts has adopted a new tax that gives Rhode Island a strong competitive advantage in the technology industry," Block said. "With a well-executed recruitment drive, we can attract businesses to our state and add jobs to our economy."
Rhode Island does not levy a tax on software services, giving it a clear advantage over its neighbor which will soon collect a 6.25% sales tax on a broad range of services. According to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Massachusetts now has the highest tax on computer services in the country.
"For years, we have watched businesses leave Rhode Island, lured away by a more favorable business climate in Massachusetts," said Block. "Now we have the opportunity to reverse that trend and start bringing some businesses back. If you're looking for a way to fill vacant office space such as the Superman building, this is one great way to do it."
Block is calling for a coordinated recruitment effort to be planned and launched as soon as possible.
"We don't have to wait until the next session of the General Assembly because this doesn't require any changes to our laws. What we need is immediate action - it's an all-hands-on-deck moment for economic development in Rhode Island," Block said. "To realize this opportunity, we need the Governor, the Commerce Corporation (formerly known as the EDC), legislative leadership and other stakeholders to begin recruiting Massachusetts technology companies as soon as possible."
Block believes the technology industry is the right sector to be pursuing.
"Typically, technology companies are mobile and have the flexibility to change location," said Block. "There should be no delay in capitalizing on this tax advantage."
Connecticut levies a 1% sales tax on software services, making Rhode Island more competitive than both its neighboring states.
"Florida's governor is already trying to recruit these companies," said Block. "Our greatest advantage is proximity to Massachusetts and we need to get moving as soon as possible."
Media reports have quoted Massachusetts business owners saying they would have considered a move to Rhode Island earlier this year if they had known about the Massachusetts tax, which was an unexpected and unwelcome surprise to the industry.
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