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NSA Data Center the Focus of Tax Controversy

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the silly-mormons-taxes-are-for-little-people dept.

Government 120

Nerval's Lobster writes "Location is everything when choosing the site of a data center. Firms such as Microsoft and Google and Facebook spend a lot of time looking into the costs of land, power, regulation and taxes before placing their respective data centers in a particular place. Sometimes, that local tax bill comes into play in a big way. Just ask the National Security Agency which learned it faces a multimillion-dollar annual state tax on the power consumed by its new data center in Camp Williams, south of Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake Tribune obtained a series of email exchanges between the feds and the state, with the NSA protesting a $2.4 million tax on its annual power expenditure, pegged at about $40 million. Harvey Davis, director of installations and logistics for the NSA, sent a letter (subsequently quoted by the newspaper) to state officials that made the logistics argument: 'Long-term stability in the utility rates was a major factor in Utah being selected as our site for our $1.5bn construction at Camp Williams. HP325 [the new law] runs counter to what we expected.'" This would be the data center William Binney et al claim is logging almost all domestic communication.

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Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (2, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#43777299)

So, the government is going to have to write the government a check?

Yikes.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43777331)

Government does this crap to private businesses all the time. I love the turnabout.

Detroit approved three casinos, giving them a contract which included tax rates, then jacked the taxes up a few years anyway. Government doesn't have to work hard to make unethical operations like casinos (and those granted legal monopoly status at that) look like abused victims.

Re: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778165)

Of course, corporate interests do the same to government. They take a contract to do something. They get paid a fair bit, but don' t quite finish. They just need a liilt more money. Then a bit more.

Re: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (3, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#43778591)

Where have you seen an engineering project that was (a) completely finished and (b) on schedule? A "Hello, World," perhaps, in Perl?

By law, the government has to give the contract to the lowest bidder. Not the best one, and not the most honest, but to the lowest one. This means that the contractors *have* to bid low, and hope to make it up later on, during the contract. Some contracts (cost plus) allow that. A contractor who bids exact or a little over does not get the job. Fair and honest estimates are bred out of government contracting by laws.

Just because you don't get out much doesn't mean (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43779295)

Where have you seen an engineering project that was (a) completely finished and (b) on schedule?

Plenty of times. Projects at power stations, oil refineries, steelworks and chemical plants for example have very tight windows for downtime so heads roll if the schedule slips.

Re:Just because you don't get out much doesn't mea (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#43779377)

Projects at power stations, oil refineries, steelworks and chemical plants for example

Those are not R&D projects, they are implementation projects where there is no science left. Three hours for backup, one hour to physically replace the old server, three hours to restore, one hour to test and put online. Everything is known, everything had been practiced before in dry runs, and there are plans B, C and D just in case.

Government projects that (I suspect) were mentioned are blue sky R&D projects. Take, for example, a new fighter airplane. It doesn't exist. How much will it cost to design one? How long? Nobody can tell for sure; it's a "pay as you go" work - and that's how these projects go over budget and over schedule. Some bugs are still haunting F-22, for example - like that oxygen supply system. Seemingly an easy system to build, isn't it? But several pilots are dead because of it. You can plan all you want, but if an essential team member gets hit by a bus you can throw those schedules away. How much time do you need to debug a fault that happens only once in a month, and you strongly suspect that it is caused by unexpected interaction between 120 threads that your system is spawning and joining in real time? Can you predict the date when the bug will be identified and squashed?

Re:Just because you don't get out much doesn't mea (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43780567)

Those are not R&D projects, they are implementation projects where there is no science left.

But you've only asked for engineering projects. I don't know where you live, but when I look around, most engineering projects contracted by the government have nothing to do with any kind of R&D at all.

Re: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#43780651)

This is not 100% true. There are a lot of government contracts that are "best value" instead of "low bid". It depends on the project and how complex it is.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#43777349)

So, the government is going to have to write the government a check?

Federal government is going to have to write the state government a check.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (5, Informative)

adamchou (993073) | about a year ago | (#43777387)

Actually, that's slightly incorrect. After reading through the articles a bit more, Utah specifically said they can't tax the federal government. So what they're doing is taxing the power company the additional 6% so that the power company can pass on the additional costs to the NSA, effectively taxing the NSA an additional 6%.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43777461)

Actually, that's slightly incorrect. After reading through the articles a bit more, Utah specifically said they can't tax the federal government. So what they're doing is taxing the power company the additional 6% so that the power company can pass on the additional costs to the NSA, effectively taxing the NSA an additional 6%.

Which is sort of odd, because the State I am in does not make me pay sales tax (or any other kind of tax) when I sell to the Federal Government. So why is this power company collecting tax on the sales to the Feds?

The power company must be buying its power from somewhere else, rather than generating it itself.
If that is the case, then they have to pay whatever taxes they would normally pay, just like I have to pay sales tax on the box I buy to ship stuff to the government.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (4, Informative)

adamchou (993073) | about a year ago | (#43777497)

Which is exactly the point. They can't tax the federal government. So they decided to create a law that allows for a loophole that taxes the power company and the law also allows the power company to pass the additional costs on to the federal government

"We don’t tax the federal government," Mayfield explained to a Utah Senate committee March 7. "So what this bill does is tax Rocky Mountain Power and then gives them the ability to pass that on as an increase in their energy bills. So we collect an equivalent of what would have been a tax on the federal government."

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43777981)

They can't tax the federal government. So they decided to create a law that allows for a loophole that taxes the power company and the law also allows the power company to pass the additional costs on to the federal government

I am sooooo OK with this. Seems like just deserts for all the times the fed has collected taxes and then held those funds hostage in order to force the states to pass laws like speed limits.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (-1, Flamebait)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#43778141)

You, uh, realize we pay for that anyway? No federal TLA actually needs to worry about things like balancing their budget - The more they pay, the more you and I pay!

So no, I actually do not feel okay about giving an extra chunk of my salary to Utah. Fuck you, Utah, make your money back from the fundies and your crappy low-alcohol liquor, and leave me out of it!

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778411)

No federal TLA actually needs to worry about things like balancing their budget

Yeah, that's the way it works.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43778503)

You, uh, realize we pay for that anyway?

No offense to us in the US, but we do seem like a bunch of chumps. Maybe a few thousand more hamster wheels like this and someone will start thinking about what the point of a federal government should be.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43779327)

Are you really blaming a Federal government for something a State government is doing?
I try not to reply to your posts but this one is such an incredibly stupid lie that I think you have a responsibility to the readers to outline what agenda motivates you to lie in such a way.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43780097)

Are you really blaming a Federal government for something a State government is doing?

Well, if the NSA wasn't there, apparently doing the very important federal task of snooping on us, there wouldn't be public revenue going to those taxes.

incredibly stupid lie

I've noticed that you seem to confuse disagreement with lying. Maybe you should work on that.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780329)

Well, if the NSA wasn't there, apparently doing the very important federal task of snooping on us, there wouldn't be public revenue going to those taxes.

I agree, but we have to go further back (all information from wiki)

NSA's predecessor was the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA)

AFSA was originally a part of the DoD, commanded by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. NSA was created because AFSA lacked the centralized power to do what government wants

JCS was created as a consequence of the US military becoming larger, creating a need for centralized power to manage it.

And US military started to grow because of the Civil War.

The Civil War is the single event that started off the federal government's expansion. If it never happened, or if the south wasn't defeated, the people of the US wouldn't have to deal with all these taxes and regulations today.

What should have happened back then was that government didn't make use of the crisis as an excuse to expand itself. If the south wanted to leave, they can leave. In the long run, the free market will decide which system will prevail (in hindsight we already know which one is superior)

Alas, if you tried that today [slashdot.org] it's almost impossible. You would even get ridiculed by the socialist groupthink mob.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43780433)

Thing is, saying something opposite to reality goes in the dictionary as a lie but I've noticed you like to make up your own definitions of words so don't let that stop you. What matters is your agenda for presenting things that way - are you going to put up or just have a long pointless rambling thread full of nothing but evasions again?

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780693)

Thing is, saying something opposite to reality goes in the dictionary as a lie

Not really.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lie?show=0&t=1369142059 [merriam-webster.com]

lie
1. to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive

A lie has the connotation of malicious intent attached

Never attribute to malice which can be explained by stupidity.

Torturing logic (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43781055)

Well, if the NSA wasn't there, apparently doing the very important federal task of snooping on us, there wouldn't be public revenue going to those taxes.

So, the SG wrote a recursive tax law, but because the FG exists it must be the FG's fault?

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778449)

You should also be OK with the NSA resiting their facility to Colorado or Wyoming where they won't play those kinds of games.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780001)

I am sooooo OK with this. Seems like just deserts for all the times the fed has collected taxes and then held those funds hostage in order to force the states to pass laws like speed limits.

Yes, but the just desserts of Utah's actions might leave them with just deserts.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780029)

> Yes, but the just desserts of Utah's actions might leave them with just deserts.

AC gets it wrong, correct usage only has one "s" in just deserts. Look it up.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

Iridium_Hack (931607) | about a year ago | (#43780589)

I get your drift and have to laugh myself. It does seem like just deserts.

At the same time, one might ask why the Federal Government thinks itself immune to all charges and believes that it has final authority over all in these situations? And if that were true, do the states also have final authority over counties and the people in monetary and legal matters as well? In the end, doesn't that kind of thinking make the people lowest on the totem pole and little more than slaves who serve the will and the needs of those above them, especially the Feds? The questions are rhetorical so please don't form a judgment of me too quickly. But it is the rule of law that is supposed to stop that sort of thing. The highest law in our country that puts specific limits on government to stop this sort of thing is the Constitution.

To me the issue here is not that the state is taxing the Feds but that the Feds think they should have this center that spies on everyone's email. Where do they get that right? Are they really trying to stop terrorism or are they trying to find people who disagree with them? What would they do when they find them? Such thinking is more in line with a tyrannical government not a constitutional one.

So I'd rather the state of Utah not tax the center, even indirectly. They might get used to the extra income and want to keep that place around.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43778635)

Which is exactly the point. They can't tax the federal government. So they decided to create a law that allows for a loophole that taxes the power company and the law also allows the power company to pass the additional costs on to the federal government.

Well, you've got to hand it to the Mormons; they're clever in their business dealings. Frankly I'm surprised that the NSA guys didn't see this one coming.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779321)

Sound perfectly fine to me ...

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43780055)

Which is exactly the point. They can't tax the federal government. So they decided to create a law that allows for a loophole that taxes the power company and the law also allows the power company to pass the additional costs on to the federal government

"We don’t tax the federal government," Mayfield explained to a Utah Senate committee March 7. "So what this bill does is tax Rocky Mountain Power and then gives them the ability to pass that on as an increase in their energy bills. So we collect an equivalent of what would have been a tax on the federal government."

As long as the state makes it a 6% tax on everyone, I'm okay with that. Then the voters in the state can decide if they like the tax.

If its not being applied equally, I'd suggest the federal government apply a 6% increase in income tax rates to the people of Utah and see what the voters think of that.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780757)

If they can't tax NSA because it is 'government', then NSA should simply buy the power plant - or build a smaller powerplant suitable for their own use. No tax to pay for power then - and no profits to an extrernal entity either. Ought to be cheaper.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777351)

In the federal system of the United States of America, there are multiple governments.
This is about a state government taxing the energy usage of a federal government facility within the state.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43777471)

No its not. RTFA.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (0)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#43777363)

So, the government is going to have to write the government a check?

The US Government is going to have to write the Utah Government a check.

Which really isn't all that unusual - the Feds send money to the States every year. This is just the NSA whinging that they shouldn't have to follow the law.

Which, come to think about it, also isn't really that unusual....

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (3, Informative)

adamchou (993073) | about a year ago | (#43777397)

No, according to the article...

"We don’t tax the federal government," Mayfield explained to a Utah Senate committee March 7. "So what this bill does is tax Rocky Mountain Power and then gives them the ability to pass that on as an increase in their energy bills. So we collect an equivalent of what would have been a tax on the federal government."

So the US government will be writing Rocky Mountain Power a check and Rocky Mountain Power will write a check to the Utah Government.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (3, Informative)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year ago | (#43778495)

"So the US government will be writing Rocky Mountain Power a check and Rocky Mountain Power will write a check to the Utah Government."

And where does the federal government get money to pay its bills? That's right you and me. So Utah is f**ing all US taxpayers.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year ago | (#43778609)

...and nobody's getting fat, except mama cass.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (4, Funny)

Chrutil (732561) | about a year ago | (#43777519)

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

yikes! What about poor Mary? She gets nothing?

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777681)

What are you talking about? Mary got shafted.

Re:Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43778573)

Actually, she gets her pick: Problem is they're all herbs.

Why is this surprising? (4, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a year ago | (#43777779)

So, the government is going to have to write the government a check?

Yikes.

Why is this surprising? Government is not one, homogeneous thing. Here we have a state government indirectly trying to tax an agency of the federal government.

Again, why is this surprising? Look at any corporation of sufficiently large size. Such a corporation would be divided into either departments or business units (each with their own specific budgets). When one renders a service to another, or when two or more need to engage into some type of cross-organizational project, they need to decide how to fund them from their budgets. And if one causes costs to run higher than a certain cap, that one unit has to compensate the others' budgets from its own.

A more tangible scenario in IT is when IT is its own department with its own budget and its own infrastructure. Other departments deploy their systems with them with some specific SLA agreements. Such SLA agreements typically include IT to pay a penalty (from its annual budget) to the other departments whenever that department(s) experience a downtime during core hours (because those "core hours" down times cause said departments to bleed money in terms of lost transactions, idle employee/users time, etc.)

Large organizations (public or otherwise) do not have a universal budgel like a cookie jar where everyone puts his hands on. Budgets get allocated per department or business unit, with money flowing among them when rendering a service or paying a penalty for loss of service.

Re:Why is this surprising? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43780745)

This is surprising because the federal government is not supposed to be taxed. Utah has enacted a piece of discriminatory legislature that allows the selective taxation of power being supplied to government and military installations such as this NSA one.

Cry me a river... (2, Interesting)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year ago | (#43777329)

The power bill went up and they aren't happy about it. A private company would have almost no recourse in a similar situation.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year ago | (#43777347)

The power bill went up and they aren't happy about it. A private company would have almost no recourse in a similar situation.

I'm guessing by your comment that you're not an American citizen, cause if you are, YOU'LL be paying the tax bill. (Where do you think the Federal government gets its money?)

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777421)

NoStringsAttached will be paying the bill from their allocated budget, meaning they will be able to record 6% less of EVERYTHING

Re:Cry me a river... (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43777431)

(Where do you think the Federal government gets its money?)

They borrow it from China.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777579)

Yeh, um, you didn't think that one through. They borrow it from future-you and your unborn children. China is merely loaning the money.

Re:Cry me a river... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777677)

(Where do you think the Federal government gets its money?)

They borrow it from China.

The US debt is about US$ 16.7T right now: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current

China owns about $1.25T of that: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Documents/mfh.txt

That's about 7.5%. The next largest foreign owner is Japan, which owns $1.1T (6.6%).

The largest single holder is the US Social Security Trust Fund, with the Fed also owning about $2T currently thanks to their quantitative easing activities.

It's become of a bit of an urban legend: yes, China holds a good chunk, but not as much as people think.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#43777695)

They borrow it from China.

And turn around and send foreign aid money to .... don't get ahead of me on this .... China.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a year ago | (#43777947)

US has had a trade deficit going on 4 decades ... the US has never been the charitable one in this game.

Re:Cry me a river... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778435)

Total US foreign aid is a little over $70 billion. The US borrows $120 billion from China. Of that $70 billion, China gets $7 million. It only takes a couple minutes for the US to borrow that from China. They aren't equivalent.

Foreign aid source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_foreign_aid#Remittances [wikipedia.org]
Borrowing from China source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_money_does_the_US_borrow_from_china_a_year [answers.com]
Foreign aid to China source: http://foreignassistance.gov/CountryIntro.aspx [foreignassistance.gov]

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#43777477)

Still different pots at different tax rates.

You can make a serious discussion out of which income groups are hurt more or less by federal versus state expenditure in different places.

Every major country in the world has various levels of government, even the UK which is relatively centralized still has city, county and now the national but sub national parliaments in wales and scotland.

The feds pay the state, the state pays the county, the county pays the city. Yes, if you're a taxpayer from anywhere outside of Utah or one of the areas attached to their grid it doesn't really matter to you where exactly the money is being spent. But if you're the poor dude in area of this facility where you'd be asked to subsidize a federal facility because it's in your district (including potentially the employees who work there), you'd much rather it be spread around to more people.

In general though a private company will have guaranteed deals, they will have a contract controlling the price increases they could face for some period of time, and they (like the feds) can always leave. The federal government like a megacorporation can also play political hardball, and say you know what, we're willing to spend 20 or 30 million dollars (or 300 million or 1.5 billion) to relocate this facility to save 2.4 million a year and we'll take all those jobs and all the development you got and leave you with nothing.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777715)

NSA can't just allocate more money from the national budget or raise taxes to compensate, their budget is fixed. The added "tax" that Utah is levying is $2.4million worth of bullshit the NSA just doesn't get to do so I'm all for it.

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777873)

maybe if a bill doesn't get signed to increase their budget they will disappear?

Re:Cry me a river... (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#43777359)

Sure they would. They would make large donations during the next election cycle to incumbents or other candidates that will introduce bills reversing the tax, or giving the company a grant or tax break or otherwise returning the money.

The NSA on the other hand will just have anyone associated with the current bill thoroughly investigated for ties to terrorism, drug dealing, child pornography, and movie/tv/music/software piracy. Those that don't capitulate get an all expense paid trip to the nearest federal deep, dark hole until they do.

Re:Cry me a river... (4, Insightful)

jasno (124830) | about a year ago | (#43777361)

A *small* private company maybe. I think a company like GOOG or MSFT can make sure the appropriate wheels are greased.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

adamchou (993073) | about a year ago | (#43777367)

Couldn't the private company sue? WIth regards to what's going on with the NSA, this bill is being passed specifically to tax the NSA. It doesn't tax any other organization. And they waited to put this on the floor after the NSA had already begun construction. That sounds pretty unconstitutional to me.

Re:Cry me a river... (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#43777453)

WIth regards to what's going on with the NSA, this bill is being passed specifically to tax the NSA. It doesn't tax any other organization. And they waited to put this on the floor after the NSA had already begun construction. That sounds pretty unconstitutional to me.

I take it you didn't actually read the text of the bill, then?

The bill pretty clearly includes any military installations in Utah, including Utah National Guard.

And what it seems to do is establish an equivalent of the pre-existing municipal tax on energy to military installations which were previously exempt from such taxes.

Re:Cry me a river... (4, Informative)

adamchou (993073) | about a year ago | (#43777487)

I think you misunderstand what the bill is trying to say. The bill is allowing the Utah government to levy a tax on any organization that rents out military property from organizations like Utah National Guard or DoD. Previously, the state of Utah would tax levy taxes against private corporations just fine. However, the NSA is a federal entity so it can't tax the NSA. What this bill does is allow the the state of Utah to tax Rocky Mountain Power and allow Rocky Mountain Power to pass on the additional costs to the NSA. Read this article [sltrib.com] for a more layman explanation of what the bill says. And to drive the point home, they specifically said this during the motion for the bill...

"We don’t tax the federal government," Mayfield explained to a Utah Senate committee March 7. "So what this bill does is tax Rocky Mountain Power and then gives them the ability to pass that on as an increase in their energy bills. So we collect an equivalent of what would have been a tax on the federal government."

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778579)

IMO, the validity of this depends on whether Rocky Mountain Power is simply allowed to increase its rates, or whether it's allowed to set a special, higher rate for the NSA specifically. A bit like 'use' taxes: it's okay to levy a tax on the use of an item, but it's not okay to levy that tax only on out-of-state suppliers who don't charge sales tax.

Re:Cry me a river... (2)

Aryden (1872756) | about a year ago | (#43777375)

A private company can petition the local government just as easily as the Federal government can.

Re:Cry me a river... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43777485)

The power bill went up and they aren't happy about it. A private company would have almost no recourse in a similar situation.

A private company operating an enterprise of equivalent size might actually have made a few little 'community investments', possibly scored some sweet 'development incentives', maybe even a 'public/private partnership' to get some of the infrastructure built for them...

Sucks for their smaller competitors; but private enterprises shake down state and local governments all the time. If anything, this particular situation is probably coming up because the location of the NSA datacenter was decided by jockying at the federal level(rather than by the NSA shopping it around and having states beg for it), so once the location was fixed, the state has a strong incentive to soak them just hard enough that they don't actually pack up and leave.

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781157)

the state has a strong incentive to soak them just hard enough that they don't actually pack up and leave

So the state is acting like the corporations so many here decry. But it's okay because it is government.

Speaking of power (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about a year ago | (#43777503)

Anyone calculate how many computers this much of a power bill translates into?

Re:Speaking of power (1, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43777987)

40 million power bill.

The power bill on the Titan is 9 million.

So about 4 computers the size of the Titan.

I doubt if that's enough to capture the whole internet.

This is UTAH (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year ago | (#43779725)

A substantial solar array would allow most of the electricity they need for their purposes to come from that, especially if they fed into the grid during the day and only took out during the night. Then you've got to allow for all the alien power sources that the NSA is bound to have got access to at Area 51; but all credit to them: if they hadn't whinged, we might have had additional evidence of those aliens' existence as a result. They are making sure they are covering themselves. ;)

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777943)

The power bill went up and they aren't happy about it. A private company would have almost no recourse in a similar situation.

So you have personal experience in such cases as an attorney for a private company in this exact instance? Maybe youre the CEO or CFO of a private company that underwent the same experience? Or perhaps you are a tax attorney? Please, tell me exactly how you know this for certain and where your experience comes from. Because if you don't have first hand knowledge and experience then you are talking out of your ass and have no knowledge at all and just pulling "govamint suckz!!!" routine just because you think its cool to make assumptions and bash anything government related.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43778311)

The power bill went up and they aren't happy about it. A private company would have almost no recourse in a similar situation.

When I don't pay my power bill, they shut my power off. They don't call me, they leave a bill on my door, and they sure as fuck won't work with me.

NSA has it lucky, so they can fuck off. Turn off their power and see how long they refuse paying you.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43778505)

NSA builds coal-fired generator on site and arranges to have coal brought in by rail (the line is aleady there) from Colorado, where there's more than plenty coal. NSA tells Utah to fuck off. Problem solved.

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779453)

It's surprising that they didn't already plan for a power plant, it is an army post after all. For that matter, they should have put it in larger post to begin with, most have independent power plants already...

World's Smallest Violin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777381)

amirite?

Good Luck Collecting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777393)

Not a jab at US federal debt, but US states taxing the federal government is basically a no go

Of course there could be complications. Such as, if NSA is leasing space from a contractor who owns the facility, the contractor who's paying for the electricity is going to be taxed, which will be passed on to the NSA

This thing is not too far away as the freeway flies from where I work but I haven't been following the details [ we don't follow the NSA, the NSA follows us ] and of course, IANAL

How Useful! (2)

IonOtter (629215) | about a year ago | (#43777419)

Wow!

Those sure are some really useful and interesting email addresses and phone numbers!

Thanks, Salt Lake Tribune!

Don't screw with the NSA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777473)

Watch the power of this armed and fully operational datacenter-to-protect-your-freedom!

I completely support this (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year ago | (#43777509)

Let the state tax the hell out of the Federal government. Chalk up the NSA's overhead as an unfunded mandate. Oh the irony.

I completely oppose this (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year ago | (#43778129)

Utah is a welfare state! They already get too much money from the federal government! They now want to take more of our money? WTF?

We should stop subsidizing Utah... and all the other loser states.

Re:I completely oppose this (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43778571)

It is so ironic that the Red States are also the welfare states.

I mean if they were serious about their political views they should refuse all Federal aid and assorted earmarks.

Gladly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778661)

I'd gladly refuse all Federal Aid and earmarks for my state, as long as I could refuse the taxes as well.
Then the blood sucking parasites of society would pack it off to your state to find a new host.

Enjoy

Re:Gladly (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year ago | (#43780175)

I'd gladly refuse all Federal Aid and earmarks for my state, as long as I could refuse the taxes as well. Then the blood sucking parasites of society would pack it off to your state to find a new host.

Oh really? So you don't want any interstate highways there, or help from FEMA, or education funds, or protection from the military?

Re:Gladly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780967)

I'd gladly refuse all Federal Aid and earmarks for my state, as long as I could refuse the taxes as well.
Then the blood sucking parasites of society would pack it off to your state to find a new host.

Oh really? So you don't want any interstate highways there, or help from FEMA, or education funds, or protection from the military?

No, I don't.

Oh, Where to begin (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#43777683)

So the NSA had no clue what was going on in tax law? They are kind of the agency that is supposed to know what is going on, were they too busy reading everyone's Facebook pages?

Or everyone should be exempt from a law because they didn't expect it and didn't plan for it (can you say Obamacare?)?

Or the NSA can't imagine who is really going to end up paying this tax bill?

Re:Oh, Where to begin (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about a year ago | (#43777801)

This is where organisations should be signing agreements with local governments and utilities ensuring that they have a guaranteed rate, with a maximum yearly price adjustment, for a given period of time. If the local government reneges on the agreement, then there should be a penalty in the contract, which was signed.

Re:Oh, Where to begin (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43778545)

Apparently, the NSA didn't figure the Utah State government for such a bunch of chiselers. They still have a lawsuit ahead of them, in which the plaintiff and the judges will be different branches of the Federal government. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see which way that will turn out. If they should lose, it would pave the way for all kinds (literally ALL kinds) of indirect taxes directed at the federal government by states, counties, cities and rural fire protection districts.

Re:Oh, Where to begin (1)

rHBa (976986) | about a year ago | (#43777809)

They'll probably outsource it all to the UK like the rest of ECHELON. I mean Google doesn't pay f#ck all tax here so why should the the rest of the USA

Re:Oh, Where to begin (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43778261)

Allow me: the economic depression, coupled with state / federal governments having grown far too large for the country / tax base to support them, are having to resort to cannibalism to keep themselves going. The state government doesn't want to starve anymore than the federal government...and probably reasons that it's better to eat them first, than be eaten later.

Tax on Utah (1)

Araes (1177047) | about a year ago | (#43777807)

Watch the NSA now influence the beltway for a pseudo-tax on Utah that happens to recoup the cost of the power. There is no point in taxing the federal government when you operate inside that government.

In 3...2...1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778123)

That'a the first thing I thought, too. This is a very dangerous game Utah is playing. There are a lot of states who suffer tax "losses" because of large government installations which don't pay local and state taxes. Every state in the union gets a lot of money back from the government (to the tune of billions of dollars every year) in all sorts of aid. Getting petty over $2.4M when the government is spending $1.5B to build something that's going to employ a lot of people is dangerous stuff. A company might have to grin and bear it, or spend a bunch to have the legislation fail, but ol' Uncle Sam just might take it out of your hide on the next budget go 'round. They are, after all, looking for ways to save a few tens of billions of dollars a year - it may as well come out of the hide of the state that tried to get a little extra on the side through a round-about deal.

Tax money for Negroes and Mexicans (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777967)

This is a prime example of how productive members of society are forced to pay the freight for low-IQ lazy Negroes and Mexicans. Next time your are in the grocery store express line, and some fat waddling pregnant Mexican pulls out her WIC coupons, remember who you voted for, and how in retrospect that vote doesn't look like it was such a good idea, was it?

Are you lost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778489)

Maybe you should be at a different blog. Or at least sitting at the back of the bus with your mouth shut.

wtf (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43778205)

It's a sad that I know for a fact there are people in that facility watching this very thread right now and I can't say what I really think about it. That's where we are today. It's not going to get better, it's going to get worse. We can't even appeal to those that are watching us to do what is right and moral, because they were chosen specifically for their psychological predilection to do what they're told. The government of this country is doomed not just because of it's direction but also because the one thing it's excelled at over the years is squashing dissent without appearing to do so. Governments in the rest of the world have to deal with revolutions every so often, but like the forest that's long overdue for a wildfire, this countries going to go up like a torch when it finally does happen.

Re:wtf (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43778555)

It's a sad that I know for a fact there are people in that facility watching this very thread right now and I can't say what I really think about it.

Yeah, as if they couldn't figure out what you think about it based on this sentence.

Re:wtf (0)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43778651)

Yeah, as if they couldn't figure out what you think about it based on this sentence.

Well, they failed to account for those crafty Mormons finding a way to tax them, so I'm not so sure.

Re:wtf (2, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43778969)

I sometimes practice self censorship too. However, other times I think back to 1776, and how the founders of this great nation wouldn't stand for their unfair treatment: I'm 99% sure they started a Revolution Instead! (I wasn't there, so there's at least a 1% chance the history books are lying). Then, I make innocuous posts including words like, "Give me Liberty, or Give me Death," which showed real courage and are thought to trigger the anti-establishment or anarchy detection filters -- Purely for the express purpose of creating a false flag in their data... Signal to noise, and all that.

Sure, this plan could blow up in my face one day like a hand grenade, or improvised explosive but I'm hoping for one of those inflatable rafts that some Cubans try to float here on instead. I'd rather risk going to jail on trumped up charges as a martyr for free speech than let fear strip away my first amendment rights -- I'm not just giving them up! You'll have to pry them from my cold dead hands. I mean, Big Brother isn't really watching everything you do online in real time; They might record it, but have to look it up after the fact to discover your terrorist ties if you did anything crazy. It doesn't work preemptively, the Boston Bombing showed us that. You're appealing to a computer algorithm, if anyone, and really all you've done is get yourself on their radar. Might as well say what you think instead.

The ultimate weapon against such spying would be a thesaurus!

Re:wtf (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | about a year ago | (#43781211)

Why do you think the DHS is buying bullets in the billions, litmus tests are applied to high army officials (will you shoot civilians) and so on? It's because they ARE paying attention to the near-unanimous dissent we all express online. Psychologists might call this "projection" - they know they'd be truly pissed had we screwed them the way they have us (think - the amount of money bailing out banks could have made each person in this country rich and actually have stimulated the economy) - so they assume we're as angry - and dishonest - and vengeful, as they would be in a similar situation were the roles reversed. A fearful person is the most dangerous. How is our government acting? Fearful of us, in the wrong way...after, strangely enough, using fear or trrrists to manipulate us and steal our constitutional rights A-Z. Pretty damn sick, since indeed the government itself is made of "us".

Calculus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778375)

Utah votes Republican.

Obama is a Democrat.

Utah should align and forge mutual economic and security agreements Hamid Karzai and Afghanistan !

Karzai could perhaps request more cash from the CIA and send the extra booty to Utah !

Although Karzai was 'installed' in Afghanistan by the CIA, Karzai does not love the CIA, Karzai is a Republican as was Saddam Husain.

In many respects the enemy of Afghanistan is the USA ! [thanks for the cash also]

In many respects the enemy of Utah is the USA ! [again thanks for the cash, and we will demand more]

An old Bedouin saying: "the enemy of my enemy is my alley."

Therefore, Utah allies with Afghanistan for the destruction of the enemy !

Calculus is so wonderful is it not.

Cost matters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778459)

When did the NSA, or any HSA entity, start paying attention to budgeting? They've been spending like they have blank checks for the last decade.
Seriously, this facility intended to be able to archive everything? Previous plans like this were abandoned due to cost, but not with the current crop of "public employees."

Federal activities exempt from state taxation? (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | about a year ago | (#43778985)

I thought that US government activities have been exempt from state taxation for quite a long time, starting with McCulloch v. Maryland way back in 1819 and affirmed and expanded down to the present day. I can see so many bases on which the NSA, for Jebus' sake, could argue that they live above mere state taxation laws. Any genuine attorneys want to comment?

Re:Federal activities exempt from state taxation? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43779137)

it was explained that they instead went to tax federal business partners some extra.

so instead of taxing the government for drinking coffee.. you make a tax law for taxing whoever brings the feds the coffee. it's loopholing of course but who can blame 'em when the government loopholes around basic human rights.

Ok....that works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779893)

"Dear IRS,

I will not be paying my taxes this year, because the absurd percentage of my hard earned wages that you are requesting runs counter to what I expected.

Sincerely,
X"

Proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780135)

How does Mr. Binney know anything? He hasn't worked at NSA since 2001. Where is the solid proof that this facility is involved in domestic collection?

Eh (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about a year ago | (#43781065)

In unrelated news, all Utah state employee bank statements, credit reports, penis and breast enlargement related health records, online dating history and other interesting materials were found posted on 325 websites around the country, along with compromising photos of those concerned presumed to come from their personal email and facebook accounts....

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