Missouri Business Headlines

House votes to help communities attract data centers

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datacenterSeeking to jolt their local economies, many Missouri communities are working to attract data centers—an effort aided by critical state-wide data center incentives passed last year.

However, one important tool—the ability to waive local property taxes for data centers—remains largely out of reach for Missouri communities.

To fix this issue, the Missouri House of Representatives has approved House Bill 2065 to help streamline the property tax incentive process.

Currently, local governments have the power to use Chapter 100 incentives in order to waive property taxes, a valuable tool for large-scale economic development projects. However, these incentives are generally too costly and cumbersome for smaller and medium-sized data center projects.

Data center site selectors have identified this as a problem that hurts Missouri’s ability to bring more data centers into the state. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry had pushed to streamline the local property tax incentive process last year, as the state-wide incentive package was being approved.

But since that effort did not become law, the streamlined process must still be approved this year.

“In doing it this way, instead of under Chapter 100, you’re going to save probably $100,000 in legal fees,” said bill sponsor Rep. T.J. Berry, a Republican from Kearney. “That’s one of the reasons to try to do this, to make projects more attractive so we can attract more business and more data centers to Missouri.”

Across the world, data center construction is continuing to accelerate. These projects typically create high-paying jobs.

jobsbadgeThe situation creates a unique opportunity for rural Missouri communities, which are attractive to data centers due to the low cost of land and their excess power capacity.

In some rural communities in other states, attracting data centers has helped transform their local economies. Data centers can help leverage improved broadband internet capacity in rural communities and even boost other business sectors.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, House Bill 2065 could help Missouri communities feel these same positive impacts.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a strong proponent of laws that help Missouri compete for data center investment.

For more information, contact Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs, at tking@mochamber.com or by phone at 573.634.3511.

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