Charging that sales taxes levied on satellite TV services by the State of Massachusetts are discriminatory, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service providers DISH Network and DirecTV filed a legal complaint with the Massachusetts Superior Court that seeks injunctive relief and a declaratory ruling that the tax violates the commerce and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Filed on Tuesday, the lawsuit targets the decision of Massachusetts lawmakers last summer to impose a 5% sales tax on DBS offerings as part of the state’s 2010 budget plan. Complaining that DBS services are now subject to the tax when no equivalent tax is imposed on cable subscribers, the companies told the court that the state’s decision to tax DBS services made no sense when cable operators “[impose] far greater demands on the state.” While warning that the tax could induce upwards of 275,000 Massachusetts DBS subscribers to switch to cable, the DBS operators argued that the state’s failure to subject cable operators to the same tax “deprives the public of state tax revenues” for such services. Cable officials point out, however, that their industry is subject to state regulatory and franchise fees that DBS operators are not required to pay. Observing that “the legislature ended a special tax exemption for satellite companies that were being subsidized by Massachusetts taxpayers,” New England Cable & Telecommunications Association President Paul Cianelli predicted that that “the state court will uphold the law.”