Not Only Will The NSA Store All Our Data In Bluffdale, Utah, Now They'll Get A Tax Break On Their Electricity Too

from the uh,-wait-a-second dept

By now, I assume many of you are quite familiar with the NSA’s new data center in Bluffdale, Utah. Among other features, part of the site’s claim to fame was the amount of electricity it would need — leading local power company Rocky Mountain Power to build the NSA their very own substation — just for the center. Lucky them. Of course, power doesn’t come cheap, and James Bamford’s article about the center estimated the energy costs to be around $40 million per year. However, that cost went up a bit due to a Utah state law that came into effect on April 1st (no, seriously) that would add a 6% tax on energy bills. That means, if the $40 million estimate was correct, it would be an additional $2.4 million per year for the NSA.

And the NSA threw a complete hissy fit, sending a series of complaints to Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s staff about the law

“We are quite concerned [about] this,” Harvey Davis, NSA director of installations and logistics, wrote in the April 26 email, obtained through a Utah open records law request.

In a follow-up email Davis sent 31 minutes later, he explained: “The long and short of it is: Long-term stability in the utility rates was a major factor in Utah being selected as our site for our $1.5 billion construction at Camp Williams. HB325 runs counter to what we expected.”

The NSA also claimed that former governor John Huntsmann had promised them that there would be no tax increases on the facility for the first six years. Utah officials insisted that they had been quite clear all along about the possible impact of this bill, but the NSA apparently didn’t pay attention. But, of course, this is the NSA, and what the NSA wants… the NSA gets. The Utah Military Installation Development Authority (who helped create this tax) claims that it didn’t know about this mysterious “promise” of no tax increases for six years:

It knows now, according to Rick Mayfield, director of MIDA, who announced yesterday that an attorney from MIDA was negotiating with one from NSA to write an amendment exempting the datacenter from the increased power tax. It isn’t clear if the exemption would be for six years or be permanent. The Utah Legislature would vote on the bill when it comes back into session in January. “What we didn’t understand was the prior administration made a promise that for six years there wouldn’t be an increase,”

So, not only do the NSA get to keep spying on us, but they get to do it for tax breaks.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Not Only Will The NSA Store All Our Data In Bluffdale, Utah, Now They'll Get A Tax Break On Their Electricity Too”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
28 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

This is why states and local governments shouldn’t promise a business anything for moving there. That $2.4 million has to be made up for SOMEWHERE in Utah, so some other Utah Tax payers will be screwed over by the state giving the NSA a tax break.

This kind of ‘if you move your business here I won’t raise your taxes for 6 years’ stuff isn’t just creation, it’s just job relocation.

And really, after the 6 or however many years the no tax hikes or other ‘bribes’ last, what’s to stop the business from moving somewhere else willing to ‘bribe’ them through a new no taxes/tax hike promise and other bribes?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“That $2.4 million has to be made up for SOMEWHERE in Utah”

How do you figure? This is an increase. It’s not lost revenue that was previously being received and now suddenly has to be made up for somewhere else. It just means the increase is smaller in terms of total revenue than previously thought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Promises

“former governor John Huntsmann had promised them that there would be no tax increases on the facility for the first six years.”

He does not have the authority to make that promise. Tax rates are determined by the legislative branch. Future legislatures and governors should not be bound by informal promises made by previous governors on something as basic as taxes.

Lots of politicians make promises like “no new taxes” and vote for tax increases anyway. That’s fine if it affects normal folks, but not if it affects the NSA, I guess.

RD says:

Not Possible

“Utah officials insisted that they had been quite clear all along about the possible impact of this bill, but the NSA apparently didn’t pay attention.”

How is this possible? They have EVERY phone call, email and communication passing through the US for the last DECADE. They can NEVER claim again that they “didn’t know” about anything, especially something that directly relates to them.

RD says:

Re: Re: Not Possible

“Ahh, but no one knew to look for it. That’s why the NSA doesn’t consider it a “search.” It’s also why these programs are of no use when it comes to stopping terrorist attacks.”

They can’t have it both ways. Either collecting ALL information leads to relevant (and timely) results and interventions, or it shouldn’t be done.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...