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Minnesota county offers Google tax breaks for $600 million data center



While Foxconn hopes to get $4.5 billion in state and local tax incentives in Wisconsin, a Minnesota county is promising $7.8 million to Google.

Sherburne County has agreed to a property tax break for a data center near the town of Becker. The county’s population is around 100,000, which is about half that of Racine County, where the Foxconn plant is being built.

The county board there voted 4-0 to approve the tax abatement for Jet Stream LLC, whose parent company is Google. According to Minnesota Public Radio, no one spoke in opposition during a public hearing on the request.

Google wants to build the 375,000-square-foot data center on about 300 acres owned by Xcel Energy. It would employ at least 50 permanent jobs, and a total payroll of $4 million a year, according to the company.

Just to compare, Foxconn promised 13,000 jobs for its Wisconsin plant, which encompasses about 20 million square feet.

If the data center is built, the county waives 20 years of future taxes from the site’s increased property value, saving Google about $390,000 a year — $7.8 million total.

That tax break could double if Becker decides to approve a similar abatement request.

Work on the buildings would create 2,000 temporary construction jobs.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the data center would eventually create 110 more jobs in the county, creating an additional $7.5 million in the local economy annually.

The data center would also help offset the loss of two of three coal plants there, Xcel Energy plans to retire in the next seven years.

Those closures, according to local officials, would cost the area 400 jobs — 150 direct from the plants — with an over $200 million impact to the community.

Two state legislators also are pushing a bill that would provide $20 million in state funds for water, sewer, road and lighting improvements to the data center’s business district

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