Barbara Comstock Column: Data centers keep Virginia a strong leader in the 21st-century tech economy
By: Barbara Comstock, Former U.S. Representative from Virginia’s 10th District and current adviser to NetChoice
In 2011, Virginia lost out to North Carolina on the construction of a $1 billion data center that Apple was planning. What tipped the balance in favor of the Tar Heel State was an ongoing commitment to update their tax structure to remain competitive in attracting this 21st-century booming business.
Up until that time, Virginia had been the leader in courting these next-generation businesses and jobs, and this wake-up call made it clear that we had to constantly update the commonwealth’s business environment in an increasingly high-stakes competition for the jobs and investments of the 21st century.
In 2012, I served in the Virginia General Assembly and introduced legislation to update our tax code for data centers. A bipartisan, commonwealth-wide coalition, and the leadership of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, resulted in near unanimous passage. In 2016, Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, further updated the legislation and provided more certainty for growing data centers. These bills gained the signatures of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.