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SPRINGFIELD—A plan to make Illinois more competitive in the data center industry passed the Senate Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), would exempt the purchase and sale of materials used in the construction or operation of a data center from sales or use taxes. The bill provides further incentives for locating in areas of high unemployment or low wages in an effort to spur economic growth in low income areas.

 “We cannot pass up the opportunity to be a leader in the fast-growing data center industry,” Sims said. “Growing Illinois’ presence in this industry will bring revenue and jobs that are desperately needed in our state.”

To qualify for the tax exemption, a data center must be located in Illinois, create at least 20 new jobs over a 60-month period and be carbon-neutral or get a certification under green building standards.

New data centers must also make $250 million in new capital investments over a five-year period. Existing data centers must make that same amount over five years on or before Jan. 1, 2020.

Indiana and other surrounding states are targeting Illinois’ data center industry and this legislation will help us remain competitive and respond to attempts to draw jobs away from Illinois, Sims said.

“We do not want neighboring states to dominate this industry,” Sims said. “With this plan I know Illinois will keep and attract businesses looking to grow or relocate.”

Senate Bill 1591 is now headed to the House for consideration.

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