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Chamber applauds bill signing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today, Senate Bill 149, sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson (R-Bolivar) to create a state and local sales and use tax exemption for equipment, machinery, and utilities used in new or expanding data centers, was signed by the governor. Gov. Jay Nixon referred to the bill as a fiscally responsible incentive for new and expanding data centers.

“Consistent with the fiscally responsible approach to economic development we’ve pursued from Day One, this bill will help attract high-tech data center investments and jobs – without putting our budget or taxpayers at risk,” said Gov. Nixon said. “I thank the General Assembly for including the safeguards and accountability measures necessary to protect taxpayers.”

Senate Bill 149 creates a state and local sales and use tax exemption for equipment, machinery and utilities used in new or expanding data centers.  Under the bill, data processing and storage centers can also claim a tax exemption from state and local sales and use taxes for purchases of tangible personal property and materials for the construction of a new or expanding data center.   Applicants for these tax exemptions must certify that the project would satisfy applicable job creation and capital investment requirements, execute repayment agreements with the state, and be subjected to random audits to ensure eligibility and compliance.

“This is a bipartisan fiscally responsible bill that will create jobs and encourage capital investment in communities across the state,” said bill sponsor Sen. Mike Parson. “By bringing more high-tech jobs to our rural communities, we are working together to strengthen our economy and move Missouri forward.”

For new data centers, the bill requires an investment of at least $25 million and the creation of at least 10 or more jobs paying at least 150 percent of the county average wage.  For expanding data centers, the bill requires an investment of at least $5 million and the creation of at least 5 new jobs paying at least 150 percent of the county average wage.

With the passage of a new incentive package, signed into law today, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the state is now poised to compete globally for data center investment and high-tech jobs. The Chamber, as a member of the Missouri Coalition for Data Centers, has worked for several years in support of the measure.

“This is a game-changer for our state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “For years, Missouri has tried to land data center projects using our state’s many relevant advantages—low-cost power supply, protection from natural disasters, fiber internet and talented IT workers. But the reality is, if you aren’t offering an incentive package, you are largely invisible to the site selectors who guide tech investment. Now, Missouri is on the map. With Senate Bill 149 now law, we can look forward to seeing greater development and more tech jobs coming to our state.”

The Chamber applauded Parson’s sponsorship, as well as Rep. Kevin Austin’s handling in the House.

“This bill to encourage more high-tech data centers to locate and expand in our state demonstrates that when it comes to creating jobs and growing our economy, Republicans and Democrats here in Missouri are working together to build a brighter future,” said Austin. “I want to thank the many legislators on both sides of the aisle who worked hard to get his bill passed and the Governor for signing it into law today.”

With low energy costs and a skilled workforce, Missouri is an ideal location for data storage centers.  Data Centers were identified by the Governor’s Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth as a promising sector for new jobs and investment. Last year, Gov. Nixon helped celebrate the grand opening of LightEdge Solutions’ data center campus in SubTropolis, a 5 million-square-foot underground business complex in northeast Kansas City.

The Chamber says the legislation includes provisions protecting state and local revenues to ensure that the incentives only go to companies creating good jobs. The organization recently announced goals for a 15-year strategic plan called Missouri 2030, which they laud the bill as being in line with. Job competition is one of the plan’s four drivers.

The bill is the first signed by Gov. Jay Nixon this session. He has vetoed one other, House Bill 63, which was overridden by the legislature five days later. House Bill 63 exempts certain political races from provisions specifying how candidates must be nominated