The Missouri House passed the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act yesterday on a 125-19 margin. Proponents say that securing existing jobs and encouraging the creation of new jobs is the goal of the “Manufacturing Jobs Act.” Though originally designed to support Ford Motor company and other Missouri-based auto industry companies, the legislation was amended to include tax incentives for the state's emerging data center industry.

"At a time when Missouri is struggling under 10 percent unemployment and bleak projections for Missouri’s economy, the governor made a call for lawmakers to consider legislation to secure automotive manufacturing jobs, due in part to the timely nature of Ford’s decision to bring another production line to Kansas City,” said Mehan. “Another time-critical economic opportunity is passage of legislation to incent new job creation, specifically Missouri’s data center industry, which could mean more than $15 billion in Missouri investment in the next three to five years.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce says that the data center industry is a nearly $100 billion global enterprise, growing at more than 8 percent annually. Over the next three to five years, national and multinational corporations will invest $15 billion in constructing data centers. Many of these corporations will make their site decisions in the coming months. According to the Chamber, Missouri is poised to capture these types of technology companies due to the low cost of power, abundant power capacity, availability of fiber, protection from natural disasters and strong base of IT talent. <p>Supporters of the proposal cite several pending data center projects in Columbia, Kansas City, and Branson that hinge on passage of tax incentives that would put Missouri on a level playing field with surrounding states that provide similar incentives. “Like the auto manufacturing incentives, the state would not commit funding until hard investments have been made,” said Mehan.