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Data center law provides relief for processors


Law extends tax exemption for operations


By MATTHEW WEAVER


Capital Press


A new Washington state law modifying tax exemptions for data centers also benefits agricultural processors and craft distilleries.


Engrossed Senate Bill 6635 extends a sales and use tax exemption to eligible data centers that begin construction prior to July 1, 2016.


It also extends until July 2016 a business and occupation tax exemption crucial to commercial ag processors, including those that handle fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood, according to Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, who sponsored the language.


The bill also exempts craft distilleries from a license issuance fee, Newbry said.


"Our whole Washington ag economy depends on the ability to process and manufacture our goods," Newbry said.


The exemption offers producers a competitive advantage as processors benefit and are able to compete against other states that don't have a business and occupation tax, she said.


"That's what this is about -- making sure our producers can get their products as soon as possible to a burgeoning and healthy food processing industry, which we have in Washington," Newbry said.


The state's food processing and manufacturing industry generated $17 billion in 2011, Newbry said, and creates more than 18,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in wages and $1.5 billion in added value.



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