Amazon.com continues to expand its data center footprint all over the world, and the online retailing and cloud computing powerhouse plans to add as many as 11 more in Oregon if a state tax issue is addressed. Mike Rogoway at The Oregonian reports that an Amazon official testified in front of state lawmakers last week over an issue known as “central assessment,” which relates to how property taxes are collected for utilities and telecom companies.
Amazon operates four data centers in Morrow County, just east of the Dalles along the Columbia River. The company recently halted construction on a fifth data center over the tax issue, waiting to see how it is resolved by the state.
To date, the “central assessment” tax has not applied to data centers, but The Oregonian reports that data center operators are fearful that it may kick in. The tax could impact Apple’s expansion of a data center in Prineville, Oregon, as well as Google’s efforts to bring its highly-touted Google Fiber high-speed offering to Portland, the report says.
But Amazon appears to have the most at stake.
“Eliminating the threat of central assessment will permit Amazon to continue to invest in Oregon,” said Amazon state public policy manager Eileen Sullivan in testimony in front of the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue. In her remarks, Sullivan reportedly said that the company planned to grow its total data center footprint in the state to as many as 15.
More hearings are scheduled on the issue for today, including discussion around SB 571 which would exempt data centers from central assessment.