Readers of this blog may have seen my recent post expressing concern about SB45, which would have given a formal waiver to the NSA (and the Utah Data Center) of an estimated $6 million of annual MIDA energy taxes. Happily, the legislation has been amended to exclude the waiver.
We may not have a happy ending, however.
The MIDA (Military Installation Development Authority–it is a state government entity) energy tax is levied at the discretion of the MIDA Board. Based on an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, the MIDA Board may not have elected, and may continue to decline to elect, to levy the tax.
The question now is why pass up an annual $6 million of tax revenue? Apparently, the concern is that the NSA may contest, and even litigate over, the MIDA tax (if it’s ever assessed).
Let the NSA sue. There is no written documentation to support whatever promise Gov. Huntsman may or may not have given the NSA. There is no record of whatever the NSA may have promised Gov. Huntsman in consideration of Huntsman’s alleged promises.
You may have noticed that entities such as banks and insurance companies often do poorly in litigation, in no small part because these entities are supremely unpopular. The NSA is one of the very few entities less popular than the insurance companies and the banks.
It is clear that the MIDA Board has the legal authority to assess this $6 million annual energy tax (otherwise, why even attempt to secure the waiver). So again, why are they thumbing their noses at big money?