The Board of Supervisors of Prince William County, Virginia, has voted to increase taxes on data centers, aiming to get the growing sector to pay its fair share".

The Board of County Supervisors voted to increase the property tax on IT equipment in stages, in a meeting on Tuesday. Putting it up by stages over the next four years, to give a rise of 48 percent by 2024, according to the Inside NoVa.

Former Prince William County courthouse
– Wikimedia Commons

Paying Prince William

Democrat Board Chair Ann Wheeler (a Democrat), said data centers should pay $2 per $100 of valuation, and currently they pay $1.35. The Board voted for a raise of 15 cents in the fiscal year 2022, which starts in July.

The Board voted for increases of 15 cents again in the years 2023 and 2024, followed by a 20 cent increase in 2025, reaching the $2 mark - a total increase of 48 percent. These further increases aren't binding: they need formal approval in future meetings. But they do give data centers owners a guide to future costs, and makes it less likely that the County's executives have to rush to balance the books when taxes are adjusted up or down.

The increases were supported by both Republicans and Democrats, winning 6-2.

Two Republicans voting against the resolution - apparently because he wanted data centers to pay more tax.

“I believe that the schedule should be much more aggressive, and I think I’ve been very clear on my concern that the data center community is not pulling their fair share of the tax bill here in Prince William County,” said Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland (Republican), according to the Mercury.

Prince William has been mulling how to deal with data centers for some time, and in April issued a Structure Policy to encourage their development. Neighboring Loudoun County has a huge number of data centers, lured by low taxes and connectivity to key Internet nodes, and Prince William County has seen increasing activity, with a 1-million sq ft campus, along with an 800-acre campus next to Manassas recently approved.

Tas has been a long-running discussion: in 2019, the County proposed raising the property tax on equipment from $1.25 to $1.50 (a proposal that evidently wasn't followed through completely).