Pressure is increasing on Governor Nixon to expand his call of the special legislative session to let lawmakers approve tax breaks for companies wanting to locate major computer storage data centers in Missouri.
Major facilities capable of storing and managing the exploding amount of data in society are themselves rapidly growing. One source says more than one third of the companies that operate them plan to expand this year.
Columbia economic development backers failed in May to get sales tax exemptions approved for data centers. Now they want the governor to expand the special session call to let lawmakers pass those incentives.
One Columbia official says three data center companies are interested in mid-Missouri, two of them would build billion dollar operations, and they plan to make decisions this fall, before the legislature convenes again.
The former regional administrator of the federal agency that oversaw building projects and operations, Brad Scott, says those data centers are big consumers of energy and they want to use renewable sources, which could trigger a boom in agriculture
Biomass is energy generated through the processing of grass, wood shavings, even the fibers of willow trees.
Governor Nixon wants the special session to concentrate on tax breaks for Ford. One data center advocate says Ford is a 20th century industry and Missouri cannot afford to miss a chance to capitalize on a 21st century industry.