Developers of data canters could get a significant tax break to build their facilities in hard-hit rural areas of Washington as the state looks for an edge in competing for the high-tech facilities. But the special break proposed for some companies could put similar projects planned for Washington’s urban cities at a disadvantage. Bills moving through the Legislature in the closing days of the session offer waivers of sales taxes on construction and equipment for the data storage centres, which can be multi-million dollar projects with buildings covering hundreds of thousands of square feet.
Although Democrats have been trying to rein in tax incentives, or “loopholes,” this session in an effort to bring in more tax revenue, Gov. Chris Gregoire defended a new, narrowly drawn tax break for data centres: “These are ready to go projects.” Gregoire called the tax breaks “much needed help” as Washington competes with Oregon, Utah, Nevada and other states for the projects and tries to help distressed rural areas. “When you’ve got unemployment rates of more than 14% in some of these areas, you’ve got to do something.”
Source: The Spokesman Review