CHICAGO – State Senator Lakesia Collins and State Representative Yolonda Morris presented legislation at a press conference Wednesday to help protect Illinoisans’ data and create jobs by providing incentives to locate data centers in low-income areas.

“By keeping Illinois technology and data in our state, instead of sending it to Virginia or another state, Illinois stands to gain tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue to help Black and Brown neighborhoods and businesses,” said Collins (D-Chicago).

Several major hospitals in Illinois have suffered cybersecurity attacks in recent years – including Lurie Children’s Hospital and St. Anthony’s Hospital. Both Collins and Morris have worked for years in the health care industry serving patients and those who are vulnerable, leading them to introduce the Keep Illinois Data in Illinois tax credit legislation to strengthen health care and cybersecurity infrastructure while helping minority business owners develop data storage facilities.

“At a time when our data is under attack, governments and hospitals should store their data in Illinois,” said State Representative Yolonda Morris (D-Chicago). “We should provide incentives to minority-owned companies that will build data centers in low-income areas. This legislation would provide millions in tax revenue, quality jobs for our community, and high-quality construction jobs. Also, it will result in community benefits in terms of jobs and opportunities for our young people to enter the technology industry.”

In 2021, Collins and Morris helped to pass a data center tax credit law to offer an additional 5% credit for minority- and women-owned companies that are invested in traditionally disinvested areas. According to reports commissioned by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the 13 Chicago-area data center projects approved since 2020 have created more than 8,000 jobs for construction workers and $4.2 billion of direct investment into Chicago-area communities.

This past February, several data center experts testified in front of the Economic, Capital, and Technology Development Committee of the Chicago City Council to discuss the tax revenue from data centers in other states, highlight the benefits to storing Illinois data within the state and discuss how that could impact revenue for communities.

“The average data center creates 50 or more new full-time high-paying jobs. Each individual data center also employs more than at least 3,000 people across numerous industries to design, build, and deliver the facility,” said Ross Litkenhous, a data center expert and the vice chair of Falls Church Economic Development. “On average, data centers generate $15 in direct local tax revenue for every $1 in public service costs. Other commercial real estate projects average 3-to-1.”

Collins and Morris are continuing to work with advocates on Senate Bill 3939 in the final weeks of the spring legislative session.