A bill that would have provided a sales tax exemption on computer equipment purchased for a data center, in the hopes of attracting more such businesses to Idaho, is dead for this session, according to the Department of Commerce, which sponsored the bill.
“The data center bill will not move forward this legislative session,” said Department of Commerce Director Bobbi-Jo Meuleman, who sponsored an identical bill last session that passed the House by a single vote but didn’t make it out of the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee. “We will continue to educate policy makers of the economic impact that this industry could have on our state.” She attributed the decision on an overall effort to address other tax reform and spending priorities by the legislature.
Supporters had included the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, which had the bill as one of its legislative priorities for the year, and Idaho Power, which hoped to bring in more large power customers.
Sales tax exemption bills in general have faced an uphill road in the Legislature the last few sessions because of the belief by some legislators that there are too many such exemptions. In addition, the companies that build them – household names such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft — are often considered well able to afford to pay sales tax on their equipment. Finally, two of the legislators who voted for it last year, Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell, and Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, are no longer in the Legislature.