Hopes For Facebook Data Center In Utah Fade

Aug 24, 2016

Economic Development and government officials in a Salt Lake City Suburb have ended discussions with Facebook to build a data center in Utah.  Critics of the center argued the plan would have been a burden to Utah tax payers.

West Jordan City officials say they can't compete with tax-breaks offered by Los Lunas, New Mexico, so they're ending negotiations for the Facebook data center which would have brought between 70-100 jobs to the state.

Evelyn Everton represents American for Prosperity- Utah. She and other members of the organization said that number of jobs is not enough to justify the cost

"Is this the way to move forward or can we find a system that is equitable for everyone?" said Everton.

Americans for Prosperity-Utah and was one of the groups criticizing the plan to give tax breaks to bring Facebook.  She says the idea of a city giving away hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for minimal job growth is the epitome of corporate welfare.

"Many people were dazzled by the name of Facebook and bringing that to Utah, but didn't really look at what that would entail and if that would be a benefit to Utah taxpayers," she said.

The Salt Lake City suburb was in competition against New Mexico to attract a Facebook data center. It was decided Tuesday the city would drop out of the race after state education officials decided the $240 million deal was too rich.

The Utah State School Board instead signed off on $100 million worth of tax breaks but West Jordan says that it's not enough in the face of pushback from other local leaders.

"We can't just be giving money to any big corporation that we think sounds good to have in Utah. We really do have to look at the long term economic impacts to our state. Really, there can't be anything better than every single business here in the state benefiting from a fair tax policy," said Everton.

Supporters of the plan said the Facebook data center would carry a cache that could draw high-tech companies to the area.