Sen. Lakesia Collins/Rep. Yolonda Morris want IL data to stay in state

Sen. Collins, Rep. Morris: ‘Keep Illinois data in Illinois’ bill will help minorities and women develop data centers in poor areas

Posted Thu, May 2, 2024 at 11:50 am CT|Updated Thu, May 2, 2024 at 4:25 pm CT by Travis Akin on

Rep. Yolonda Morris, D-Chicago, joins Sen. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, and other lawmakers in support of the "Keep Illinois Data in Illinois" bill to provide tax incentives for minorities to invest in data centers located in low-income areas.
Rep. Yolonda Morris, D-Chicago, joins Sen. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, and other lawmakers in support of the “Keep Illinois Data in Illinois” bill to provide tax incentives for minorities to invest in data centers located in low-income areas.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – Senator Lakesia Collins and Rep. Yolonda Morris, both Chicago Democrats, have introduced new legislation to help keep Illinois data within the State of Illinois and to create jobs by providing incentives to locate data centers in underserved areas.

The “Keep Illinois Data in Illinois” Tax Credit legislation (Senate Bill 3939, House Bill 5827) will help minority business owners to develop these data storage facilities. The legislation will also help underserved areas of Illinois by giving tax benefits to data centers that are located in “disproportionately impacted areas” of the state.

“By keeping Illinois technology data housed in the state, instead of sending it to Virginia or another country, the state will gain tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue and help black and brown neighborhoods and businesses,” Collins said.

Both Collins and Morris have worked years in the healthcare industry serving patients and those who are vulnerable. Several major hospitals in Illinois have suffered major cybersecurity attacks – including Lurie Children’s Hospital and St. Anthony’s Hospital.

“At a time when our data is under attack, governments and hospitals should store their data in Illinois,” Morris said. “We should provide incentives to minority-owned companies that will build data centers in low-income areas. This legislation would provide millions in tax revenue, quality jobs for our community, and high-quality construction jobs. Also, it will result in community benefits in terms of jobs and opportunities for our young generation to enter the technology industry.”

Data centers are one of the best economic investments for municipalities. That’s why Illinois passed a data center tax credit bill in 2021, and the new legislation from Collins and Morris would offer an additional 5 percent credit for minority and women-owned companies that are invested in traditional disinvested areas.

According to a February 2023 report commissioned in part by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the 13 Chicago-area data center projects approved since 2020 have created more than 8,000 jobs for construction workers and $4.2 billion of direct investment into Chicago-area communities.

In February, several data center experts testified in front of the Economic, Capital and Technology Development Committee of the Chicago City Council. During the hearing, a data center expert said Virginia’s Loudoun County outside Washington, D.C. receives hundreds of millions of dollars annually in direct tax revenue from its data centers. Buddy Rizer, the Executive Director for Loudoun County’s Department of Economic Development, testified that Loudoun County’s data center tax revenue increased from $146 million in 2016 to over $800 million in 2024. This revenue has substantially reduced the tax burden on Loudoun County residents.

Craig Huffman, an African American entrepreneur and Co-Founder and CEO of Metro Edge Development Partners, is developing a data center in the Illinois Medical District in Chicago. Huffman said the benefits generated from such facilities can be transformative.

“Each new data center creates administrative, union construction, and operational jobs. The capital required to construct the buildings injects millions of dollars into local economies, and with managed growth, this real estate type alleviates traditional burdens on resources like schools and other city services,” Huffman said. “By keeping Illinois data in Illinois, our state has the chance to not only boost its financial standing, but also nurture a tech-savvy workforce and inspire future generations.”

“The average data center creates 50 or more new full-time high-paying jobs. Each individual data center also employs more than 3,000 people across numerous industries to design, build, and deliver the facility”, said Ross Litkenhous, a data center expert and the Vice Chair of the Falls Church Economic Development.

“On average, data centers generate $15 in direct local tax revenue for every $1 in public service costs, ” Litkenhous said. “Other commercial real estate projects average 3-to-1. Loudoun County has a $3 billion annual operating budget. And 1/3 of that revenue comes from their data centers while the data centers take up less than 5% of the total land size in the county.”

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