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500 PENNSYLVANIA COMPANIES TO FIGHT COMPUTER TAX

 500 PENNSYLVANIA COMPANIES TO FIGHT COMPUTER TAX
 HARRISBURG, Pa., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 500 Pennsylvania


companies have united to fight the state's dangerous new tax on computer services, the Pennsylvania Technology Council announced today.
 Executives of the Pennsylvania companies are now contacting their legislators, through letters and meetings, to urge Harrisburg to repeal the tax on computer services, the only such comprehensive tax levied by any state in the country. The 6 percent tax was passed by legislators, with virtually no analysis or debate, during last summer's state budget crisis.
 "Pennsylvania now has the dubious distinction of being the only state in the country to use its tax structure to burden its emerging technology sector," said Tim Parks, executive director of the Pennsylvania Technology Council, a statewide association of technology industry groups. "The tax could not possibly be more counter-productive to the long-term needs of the commonwealth. It is an assault on the entrepreneurs and businesses who are creating the new high-value jobs our state so urgently needs."
 All segments of Pennsylvania's economy are threatened by the tax, Parks said. "Computers and computerized systems are indispensible competitive weapons for every business, in every industry. This tax is driving our technology entrepreneurs out of state and is depriving technology-based companies of the resources to invest and expand. Companies that need new technologies are being asked to pay a higher price, and that is putting them at a competitive disadvantage. It is a cycle that will be crippling. Clearly, we are jeopardizing our future."
 Non-Pennsylvania companies are supposed to charge the computer services tax on work done in the commonwealth, though collection is "virtually unenforceable," Parks said.
 Parks also stressed that the fight was not simply one industry or special interest group seeking relief at the expense of the state as a whole.
 "The fact is that success in the competitive arena of the interdependent world economy will go to those companies and regions with technological superiority. Future quality of life for all Pennsylvanians is directly dependent on enhancing technological competitiveness today," Parks said. "This tax is condemning us to an 'also-ran' status."
 The Pennsylvania Technology Council has identified 2,200 companies in Pennsylvania that are classified as "technology producers." Of those, 80 percent have fewer than 100 employees and 72 percent have been in business for 10 years or less.
 The council estimates that 600,000 jobs in Pennsylvania now are attributable to the availability of technology-based services.
 According to the council, the number of Pennsylvania technology producers in the 1990s is third in the country, trailing only California and Massachusetts. Pennsylvania is fifth in population size.
 "Pennsylvania could be a significant player in the 21st century's global technology community," Parks said. "But not if our state insists upon handicapping our young and fragile technology companies today."
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 /EDITORS: For the names of entrepreneurs and company executives in your area able to discuss the crushing impact of the computer services tax, please call John Buckman at 412-471-6348.
 Parks may be reached directly at 412-687-2700./
 /CONTACT: John Buckman of Buckman Communications, 412-471-6348, for Pennsylvania Technology Council/ CO: Pennsylvania Technology Council ST: Pennsylvania IN: CPR SU:


DM-CD -- PG002 -- 6455 05/05/92 10:30 EDT
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Date:May 5, 1992
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