QTS Data Centers, a Kansas data hosting company, is the most recent in a line of large data companies to build in Hillsboro, enticed by tax breaks worth $7.6 million USD total over the past three years. These tax breaks have become arguably less valuable due to Hillsboro moving in 2016 to match the value of those tax breaks to jobs made. Those amendments landed among worries that Hillsboro was granting tax breaks to organizations that took a huge amount of prime industrial or farm land while creating few jobs.
According to public records, six massive Hillsboro data centers employed only 71 people total last year and in 2017, that meant each job made gave $47,000 in tax breaks for each job created. Data centers gaining tax breaks include facilities owned by Comcast, Adobe, Flexential (formerly ViaWest), T5 Data Centers, Infomart and NetApp.
QTS, which rents space in its data centers to other companies, bought 92 acres in Hillsboro last fall for $26 million and plans to commence construction on a huge 100-megawatt data center. Data centers utilize massive amounts of energy but computers do a vast majority of the work, leading to very little direct employment. This 100-megawatt data center will have similar amounts of power utilized by 80,000 Northwest homes – which is more than double the number of households in all of Hillsboro.
Tax breaks are great for luring in data centers, which in turn spend tens of millions of dollars to manage their facilities with high-end computers that would be taxed due to local Oregon property taxes. Last year, Informart’s Hillsboro data center had an evaluated value of more than $52 million last year. QTS’ property in a specially designated “enterprise zone,” which exempts QTS from the property taxes that other businesses pay. Unfortunately, in 2016 the Hillsboro City Council amended its enterprise zone program that links the tax benefits to job creation. Read More at CAPRE Media.