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Iowa to give Microsoft millions in exchange for 86 jobs

The Iowa Economic Development Authority has unmasked Project Alluvion, awarding $18 million in sales tax rebates for Microsoft to build a data center in West Des Moines.

Project Alluvion, you might recall, is the code name the city of West Des Moines used for a mystery company promising to create 86 jobs in exchange for funding help from the city and the state.

The West Des Moines City Council on March 24 approved asking the IEDA to award Project Alluvion $18 million in sales tax rebates, the maximum amount possible under the IEDA’s High Quality Jobs Program.

Neither the city nor the IEDA questioned why Microsoft, which had $24.5 billion in revenue and $8 billion in profits in the most recent fiscal quarter, needed taxpayers’ support to build its data center.

By the time the new data center opens for business, Microsoft will have received from the state and the city more than $418,000 for each of the 86 jobs it says it will create.

That’s not surprising, according to Iowa State University economist David Swenson.

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