A new law that went into effect last month that lowers the state’s corporate tax rate is getting mixed reviews.

A new law that went into effect last month that lowers the state’s corporate tax rate is getting mixed reviews.

Some of the affected businesses say the reduction hardly enough and will be swallowed up by other changes in the state tax code.

“It’s almost like throwing a life ring into the ocean,” said Susanne Morreale-Leeber, CEO of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a good move, but it’s not enough.”

The law, passed in 2008, decreases the corporate excise tax rate for all businesses from 9.5 percent to 8.75 percent. The excise tax, which is based on a company’s profit and property, has been 9.5 percent for more than 10 years. The rate is scheduled to gradually decrease to 8 percent in 2012.

Bob Bliss, a spokesman for the state Department of Revenue, said that in fiscal 2009, Massachusetts collected $1.5 billion in corporate excise taxes. Bliss estimated the 8.75 percent corporate excise tax will save a total of $56 million in one year for 35,000 to 40,000 businesses.

David Souers, a partner at accounting firm CCR Wealth Management in Westboro, said many smaller companies won’t feel the reduction.

“It is not significant in this severe recession when many businesses are struggling to even make a profit,” Souers said.

The 2008 law also makes two other changes that the Department of Revenue says will increase net tax revenue from companies.

First, the implementation of “combined reporting” means multi-state corporations that operate in Massachusetts can no longer shift income to low-tax or no-tax states. The second change requires companies to choose the same tax status in Massachusetts as for federal taxes, eliminating a pick-and-choose system to reduce their taxes.

Bliss said the changes will mean a net increase in tax collections, but that the state won’t know the exact numbers until next year. He also noted that companies that do business solely in Massachusetts won’t be affected by the new reporting system.

“The feeling was since some larger businesses were going to pay more, it was a good opportunity to lower the rate for some in-state businesses,” he said.

Eileen McAnneny, senior vice president of government affairs for the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, criticized the new combined reporting system as too complex, taxing international as well as national profits.

“Massachusetts wants to tax more income than the federal government does,” she said.

The Patriot Ledger