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Without SB 5873, data center jobs are disappearing

The Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council is distributing the following information about SB 6789:

OLYMPIA — Until recently, Washington’s low-cost electricity from renewable hydro and wind power made rural parts of our state a leader for the construction of data centers. But since July 2011, companies including Facebook, Apple, Rackspace and Amazon have all chosen Oregon over Washington as sites to build data centers.

Why is our state suddenly losing out on these family-wage construction and facility maintenance jobs? As companies invest heavily in “cloud computing,” which relies on massive data storage and transfer, why are those investments being made elsewhere?

Washington has lost its competitive edge because its proven, successful Data Center Tax Incentive expired.

Understandably, “tax incentives” aren’t very popular in Olympia right now. As state legislators struggle to address another $1 billion revenue shortfall — forcing painful cuts to state, county and municipal services — the billions of dollars deferred each year by more than 600 tax breaks are a frustrating reminder that these incentives deserve more scrutiny, accountability and transparency to make sure they pay dividends.

The Data Center Tax Incentive is different. Passed in 2010 with strong bipartisan support, it is the model of how tax incentives should work. Recipients are ACCOUNTABLE for creating a specific number of good jobs. No jobs, no tax incentive. It has a PROVEN TRACK RECORD of creating jobs; its expiration last July has demonstrably harmed Washington’s competitiveness and cost hundreds of good jobs. That hasn’t saved any money, it has cost state and local governments revenue.

That’s why renewing it with SB 5873 has strong bipartisan support. It passed the Senate 48-1, but the House didn’t have a chance to vote on it before the 2012 regular session ended.

The Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council is joining business and labor interests to strongly urge the State House of Representatives to approve SB 5873 during the Special Session. Call 1-800-562-6000 and leave that message for your Representatives!

For more information, contact WA State BCTC Executive Secretary David Myers via email.

Here is an informative video, produced by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Sabey Corporation, about the importance of data center construction:


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