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Existing data centers concerned about bills giving tax breaks to west Michigan project


Existing data centers in Michigan want guarantees that they’ll get the same tax treatment as a proposed project near Grand Rapids.

Lawmakers could move as soon as this week on bills meant to lure Nevada-based company Switch to Michigan with big tax incentives.

The legislation includes breaks for all data centers, including existing ones.

But those companies worry it could still give Switch an unfair advantage.

“If you set up a tax policy that favors one company you will crush an industry, you won’t help it,” said Yan Ness, CEO of Online Tech in Ann Arbor, during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

“If you don’t do that for everybody you end up tilting the playing field. It becomes unfair. And you slow down investment, and certainly investment from the outside.”

Ness is joining leaders of other existing data centers in calling for an amendment to the legislation guaranteeing that all data centers will be treated equally.

Other critics of the bills say it’s bad public policy to target one industry for big tax breaks.

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