LANSING — State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) is pleased that legislation passed today will help bring Switch, a major technology company, to the Grand Rapids area. Switch intends to invest $5 billion to transform the former Steelcase headquarters pyramid into a state-of-the-art data center that will employ 400 people and support another 600 high-tech jobs at companies that will co-locate equipment at the center. Brinks was also successful in securing an amendment to the legislation ensuring the promised jobs will materialize.

“For years, our state has been working hard to attract high-tech innovators and skilled workers to Michigan,” Rep. Brinks said. “With the passage of this package of bills, Michigan is taking a leap forward into a future where Michigan is known as a technology leader. I look forward to Switch becoming a part of West Michigan’s business landscape, and to the jobs and opportunities they will provide.”

Brinks supported Senate Bills 616-617, which exempt certain equipment purchases by data centers including Switch from the state’s 6 percent sales tax and use tax. The bills also require that the state’s School Aid Fund be held harmless from any loss of tax revenue incurred by the incentive. 

“These bills strike a careful balance, opening the door to economic growth in West Michigan, while ensuring that our kids and their schools won’t pay the price,” Rep. Brinks said. “These bills will bring opportunities for our kids work in a rapidly growing, high tech industry right here in West Michigan.”