A. Lee Graham Reporter
The Texas Legislature has approved legislation creating a temporary sales tax exemption intended to attract major data center projects to the state, according to information from Ryan LLC tax services’ Dallas office. The bill now awaits consideration by Gov. Rick Perry, who has 20 days to decide whether to sign, veto, or allow the bill to become law without his signature. Introduced by state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville), House Ways and Means Committee chairman, House Bill 1223 was approved on Friday May 28 after Hilderbran told the House that he was willing to accept two changes that the Senate made to the bill. Those are an increased minimum capital investment required to qualify for the exemption, as well as the Senate defining a qualifying data center be used by a single occupant. If Perry signs the bill, the sales and use tax exemption will become effective on Sept. 1, 2013 and apply to personal property considered necessary to operate a qualified data center, including electrical and-or a cooling system, among other property. The exemption does not apply to office equipment or supplies, among other property. To qualify for the exemption, data center owners, operators or occupants must jointly or independently meet the required capital investment requirement, and create at least 20 full-time permanent jobs that pay at least 120 percent of the average weekly wage in the county in which the job is located. The jobs must be maintained for five years.