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Governor signs bill designed to help data center development; AIM calls for passage of companion leg

Governor Nixon Thursday signed legislation that will provide tax benefits to new or expanding data center facilities operating in the state.

Senate Bill 149 was sponsored by State Senator Mike Parson (R-Bolivar) and handled in the House by Rep. Kevin Austin (R-Springfield). It provides conditional state and local sales and use tax exemptions for all machinery, equipment, computers, electrical energy, gas, water and other utilities, including telecommunication and internet services, used in new data storage center facilities. The act also provides a state and local sales and use tax exemption for purchases of building materials for the construction of a new data storage center facility. In order to receive these sales tax exemptions, application must be made to the Department of Economic Development showing the project will result in at least $25 million of new facility investment and that at least 10 new jobs will be created with wages of at least 150 percent of the county average wage over a three year period.

The bill also allows a conditional state and local sales and use tax exemption for expanding data storage center facilities for all machinery, equipment and computers purchased for the expansion and increased expenditures for electrical energy, gas, water and other utilities, including telecommunication and internet services over the previous year’s expenditures. In order to receive the sales tax exemption provided for expanding data centers, application must be made to the Department of Economic Development showing the project will result in at least $5 million in new facility investment over a one year period and create at least 5 new jobs with wages of at least 150 percent of the county average wage over a two year period.

New data storage centers may receive incentives for a maximum project period of 15 years. Expanding data storage centers may receive incentives for a maximum project period of 10 years. The Department of Economic Development and the Department of Revenue are authorized to conduct random audits to ensure compliance with the program.

The bill differs from a bill that was passed last year and another bill making its way through the general assembly this year.  HB 993, sponsored by Representative Eric Burlison, clarifies and codifies the existing case law exemption for data centers that allows data centers the same sales tax exemptions that are provided to manufacturers. AIM calls on legislators to pass HB 993, and for the governor to sign that legislation as well to ensure that data centers in Missouri continue to receive the incentives to which they have been entitled for years.

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