Thursday, February 21

Iowa Offers Welfare to Microsoft

Known for our glorious Vistas and PC attitudes, Iowa has now opened our wallets a little wider to have Microsoft build a data center here.

According to the Gazette

The measure, approved 45-2, would build on incentives created last year that lured Google to build a $600 million center in Council Bluffs. House File 2233 now goes to Gov. Chet Culver for his expected signature.

Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, said the computer giant could invest $600 million in a facility in Iowa if the state is chosen as its project location.

To attract Google to Iowa, the Legislature approved a package that exempted electricity and capital investments from the state's sales tax. The measure approved Thursday broadens the language to make sure Microsoft would qualify. The measure doesn't mention Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft by name. It requires an investment of at least $200 million and a decision by Dec. 31.

In addition to legislative action, other state and local incentives probably would be offered to Microsoft.

Sen. Dick Dearden, D-Des Moines, one of two senators to oppose the measure, said Iowa had no business "offering welfare" to a company that made $14 billion last year — which is more than twice the state's general fund budget.

"There's no reason why we have to keep giving corporate welfare," he said.

Dotzler countered that the state will far recoup more benefits from a Microsoft project if Iowa is chosen as the project site.

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