Delegate Mark Keam Leads Bipartisan Effort to Bring More Computer Data Centers and Technology Jobs to Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tue., Mar. 6, 2012
Contact: Julia Kim
RICHMOND, VA — The Virginia House of Delegates passed the Joint Conference Committee Report on House Bill 216 this week on a unanimous vote, thereby sending the measure to Governor Bob McDonnell for his action. If signed into law by the Governor, HB 216 will expand innovative tax incentives for data centers that wish to locate in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) served as Chief Co-Patron of HB 216, which was introduced by Delegate Barbara Comstock, a Republican who represents the 34th District that borders Del. Keam's 35th House District in Fairfax County. Keam was also one of six members of the Conference Committee who negotiated the differences between the House and Senate versions of this legislation.
"At the beginning of this legislative session, I said our focus should on Job One, which is to create good jobs for Virginians," said Keam. "I thank my colleague, Del. Comstock, and others who supported this important bill that will create new jobs and expand the tech industry's presence in Virginia."
A data center is a facility that houses large-scale computer systems and software as well as related equipment such as telecommunications, connections, security, storage, redundancies, power supplies, and environmental controls. Demand for more data centers is growing as information technology continues to expand into every aspect of modern life, and as consumers and businesses demand more innovation and convenience such as cloud computing.
As the digital revolution continues to expand, the data center industry has become a reliable sector that creates well-paying, high-tech jobs and generates millions in revenues for local and state governments. Any state that provides meaningful incentives to encourage these facilities to locate within their borders will capture the benefits of this fast paced industry. HB 216 will position Virginia as an attractive destination for this capital investment and good jobs.
Since July 1, 2010, Virginia has provided sales tax exemption for qualifying data center operators who purchase or lease certain computer equipment for their facility. To take advantage of this benefit, a Virginia data center must have new capital investment of at least $150 million, create a minimum of 50 new jobs that pay at least 1.5 times the prevailing wage, and have an agreement with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority.
HB 216 amends the current law by allowing new jobs that are created by tenants of the data center (in addition to the operator) to count towards the threshold requirement, thereby providing additional incentives for more data center operators and related tech companies to move to Virginia. The bill also extends the exemption to sunset on June 30, 2020.
The bill is strongly supported by the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and many other business interests and local governments across the Commonwealth.
"We appreciate Del. Mark Keam's strong support as Chief Co-Patron of this important technology legislation," said Bobbie Kilberg, President & CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. "These incentives will boost Virginia's competitiveness in attracting data center jobs and investment, and further distinguish Virginia as a global technology center."
In January, HB 216 was referred to the Finance Committee where Del. Keam sits. On February 10, Del. Keam shepherded the bill out of Committee unanimously, and the full House of Delegates on February 14 voted unanimously to send it to the Senate. In late February, the Senate amended the bill and sent it back to the House, which rejected the Senate amendment. To reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of this bill, the Speaker of the House named Del. Keam to the Conference Committee.
HB 216 is the third legislative measure on which Del. Keam has served as a conferee. During the 2010 session, Del. Keam was named to the Conference Committee on House Bill 803, his "Green Jobs" tax credit bill. He served as a conferee on House Bill 2155 that required more transparency in local government in 2011.
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Delegate Mark Keam (www.DelegateKeam.org, @MarkKeam) represents Virginia's 35th District, located in Fairfax County. The House District includes Tysons Corner, the Town of Vienna, Dunn Loring and portions of Oakton and Fairfax. Currently serving in his second term, Delegate Keam is a member of the House Education and Finance committees.
Delegate Mark L. Keam
Virginia House of Delegates
P.O. Box 1134
Vienna, VA 22183
District Office: (703) 350-3911
Richmond Office: (804) 698-1035