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The Massachusetts Technology Sector Essay

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The Massachusetts Technology Sector


After working for more than five years as a software engineer at a Massachusetts-based digital-video editing company, Dave Lanzar decided it was time to take a chance and join the ranks of a start-up streaming media company that had yet to go public.

“The future was rosy and we were all going to get rich,” Lanzar said.

But that future never materialized, and the company that was supposed to make Lanzar rich no longer exists. He was laid off in August 2001, one month before the terrorist attacks on Sept.11, 2001 accelerated an already progressing downturn in the job market that hit the Massachusetts technology sector especially hard.

Lanzar did not work as a programmer again for over two years. During that time he burnt through his entire savings and starting doing odd jobs like baby-sitting and lawn-work to survive. In October 2003 he secured a several-month-long contract job.

After the contract ended in early 2004, it was six more months until Lanzar found a permanent job. Even though he is back to work, his extended, unpaid and unwanted vacation still haunts him.

“I definitely, sometimes feel my rustiness. I’m having to work very hard to overcome that,” Lanzar said.

The Massachusetts high-tech industry has been the setting for thousands of similar stories since 2001. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce reported that, between 2001 and 2003, the Boston area alone lost 32,000 high-technology jobs -- a 22 percent loss.

The Mass Software Council reported in the 2004-2005 edition of its yearly software industry research publication, The Complete Guide to the Massachusetts Software Industry, that the state lost 121 software companies and 3,859 software-related jobs in 2...


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...the state will not invest too heavily in one specific technological growth area, such as stem-cell research, while ignoring the rest.

“We think if there’s going to be an investment in technology, it should be more broad-based,” said Boulanger.

Boulanger also warns of possible dangers looming on the horizon that could impede growth. He points to proposed Massachusetts House bill 2606 as a potential momentum killer. The bill aims to close corporate tax loopholes, and includes a measure to ensure that any software bought online would be subject to state tax. The bill claims this loophole is worth an estimated $50 million dollars in yearly revenue.

“It’s definitely moving in the wrong direction,” Boulanger said. “The state government has the ability to make Massachusetts companies more competitive around the margins. And that is all we are really asking for.”


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