Google seeks tax breaks for $600M data center in Minnesota

Google seeks tax breaks for $600M data center in Minnesota
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Google is seeking up to $15 million in tax breaks to build a $600 million data center in Becker, Minn., according to a report from Minnesota Public Radio

The tech giant has reportedly asked the city and county to waive two decades' worth of future taxes, allowing Google to save up to $8 million in county property taxes and $7 million in city property taxes. 

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The data center would bring an estimated 50 full-time jobs and 2,300 construction jobs to the area, a promise that has excited local officials, according to the local radio station.

"This will generate a lot of local economic activity that will benefit not only the city and the county but also the state and the region," Sherburne County Administrator Steve Taylor said.

Taylor told the outlet that he expects local leaders will be open to the tax breaks proposal from Google.

Google's request for significant tax breaks comes weeks after Amazon canceled its plans to build offices in New York City, a stunning move that came after local politicians and activists raised sharp criticism over the $3 billion in tax breaks the city had promised Amazon. 

"Why does a mega-corporation worth almost a trillion dollars, led by the richest man in the world, need our $3 billion in subsidies?" New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D) asked in February, shortly before Amazon slammed the brakes on the project.

The Washington Post shortly after reported that Google has received millions in tax breaks over the years — often quietly, without permission or input from local residents. Last May, a Texas town approved more than $10 million in tax breaks for a Google data center. 

Most large corporations ask for tax breaks when they build new sites, a practice that has faced increased scrutiny amid a resurgence of left-wing populism.

Cities often offer tax incentives to companies that otherwise would not come to their area. 

Local officials have said the Google data center in Becker could help the town transition away from a coal-based economy as a local coal plant is shutting down. 

Google earlier this month announced that it will be investing $13 billion in data centers and offices across 14 states including Ohio, Texas, Nebraska and Nevada. That expansion will leave the company with a presence in 24 U.S. states.