Wisconsin State Lawmakers Fight Back Against Dark Store Loophole

Madison - Republican lawmaker Robert Brooks introduced two assembly bills with the help of Duey Stroebel of Saukville and Roger Roth of Appleton, these bills aim to stop the dark store loophole, today the Assembly Committee of Ways and Means discussed this issue.

The meeting had several law makers supporting these bills and organizations like the League of Wisconsin Municipalities in favor of the legislation as well.

Representatives from some of the big box stores argued that buildings should be assessed on the brick and mortar and not what is inside the building, they also said assessors have been aggressive in their appraisals and that these bills would hurt small businesses.

The dark store loophole is something big box stores have been using to pay less property tax and they've been winning which is shifting the burden onto home owners.

Assembly Bill 386 attempts to stop this loophole, while Assembly Bill 387 would reverse the 2008 Walgreens v. City of Madison decision which set a precedent for retailers to argue in court.

Currently, the Village of Howard is facing litigation from a Menards and Appleton has had to settle several lawsuits, including having to cut a refund check for $350,000 to CVS.

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