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Michigan panel OKs tax breaks to land data center campus

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A legislative committee has approved tax breaks needed to ensure a major data center developer chooses Michigan for its first campus in the eastern United States.

Bills OK'd 8-5 Wednesday by the House Tax Policy Committee would exempt Nevada-based Switch and current Michigan data centers from sales, use and personal property taxes paid on servers and other equipment.

Switch plans to locate a massive data center campus near Grand Rapids, starting inside a pyramid-shaped building that once housed furniture maker Steelcase's research facility.

Switch says it will not come to Michigan without the tax incentives.

While supporters say Michigan must level the playing field and compete with other states for the emerging cloud computing industry, critics oppose such targeted tax breaks as unfair and question the budget impact.

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