The Clearfield County Commissioners approved a resolution to authorize the submission of an application for a tax-free Clearfield Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) in Girard Township.

The Pennsylvanian county hopes to attract Cirrus Holdings, which wants to build the Cirrus Clearfield Data Center Park in the area - but first the state must approve the KOZ.

Girard Township
Girard Township – Wikimedia Commons/Dasandman008

Tax on, tax off

Commissioners approved their resolution in a 2-0 vote, with one Commissioner absent. Girard Township and the Clearfield Area School District previously also voted for the KOZ, which gives businesses in the zone a tax-free status for 10 years, both at the state and local level.

With the application completed and submitted by Clearly Ahead Development, the county’s economic development corporation, the KOZ will go before the state Department of Community and Economic Development for the final decision.

Before the vote Cirrus CEO Margie Guido outlined a plan for a data center park in Girard Township. Guido said she hopes to attract four million square feet of data center space to the park.

But at this week’s vote, she said that current Pennsylvanian tax is off-putting to the industry. She said: “It’s a very big number to the companies that want to build data centers,” Gants News reports.

“So instead of building here, they shift to neighboring states. We have failed to attract even one despite the fact that we have an abundance of energy, land, water and a very favorable climate,” she said, citing Virginia and Ohio as areas of rapid growth.

An example of a tax difference is sales tax on equipment purchases, where Pennsylvania has a 6 percent rate, while neighboring states like Virginia, Ohio and New York are a few points lower.

Guido also thanked state Representative Matt Gabler (R-DuBois), who she said has worked on the project with them for more than three years, Courier Express reports.