Republicans Stall “Dark Store” Bill
Bill opposed by special interests ends loophole lowering big box stores' property taxes.
Six months ago, a group of bipartisan legislators sponsored two bills that would close a loophole that big box stores and other companies use to lower their tax assessments.
This “dark store” loophole allows them to base their tax assessments not on their stores that are in operation but on their vacant stores.
This deprives communities of tax revenue, and ends up forcing homeowners to pay higher taxes or communities to cut services.
The bipartisan measures to address this problem, Senate Bills 291 and 292 , received overwhelming support at public hearings. And on Oct. 11, a Senate committee dominated by Republicans voted unanimously for them.
But there has been a hold up. GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has not scheduled a vote on the bills.
Earlier this week, numerous communities throughout the state held a “Dark Store Day” to draw attention to the legislation. In recent years, more than 50 counties and communities have passed resolutions asking state lawmakers to address the problem.
Pleasant Prairie Village Board President John Steinbrink, a former Democratic state lawmaker, told the Kenosha News, “somebody is not calling the vote. I know they could do it overnight if they wanted to. If they could do that for lobbyists and special interests, they could do it for the taxpayers.”
Here are the special interest groups and industries that oppose one or both of these proposals to address the dark store loophole:
- Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
- Americans for Prosperity
- Walgreen Co.
- Wisconsin Restaurant Association
- Union Pacific Railroad
- CVS Health
- Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
- Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin
- Marathon Petroleum
- Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers
- Outdoor Advertising Association of Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association
- Wisconsin Independent Businesses
- T. Wall Enterprises Management
- Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association
- Wisconsin Property Taxpayers Inc.
More about the Dark Store Loophole
- Hot Debate, Limited Action by Senate - Erik Gunn - Jan 22nd, 2020
- Senate Democrats Offer 2020 Agenda - Laurel White - Dec 24th, 2019
- Dark Store Loophole Continues to Shift Property Tax Burden to Homeowners - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Dec 19th, 2019
- Examining the Dark-Store Loophole - Melanie Conklin - Aug 7th, 2019
- Senate GOP Refuse to Close the “Dark Store” Loophole - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - May 15th, 2019
- Senate Republicans unanimously reject vote on Dark Store fix - State Sen. Janis Ringhand - May 15th, 2019
- The State of Politics: Can Any ”Dark Store” Reform Get Passed? - Steven Walters - Apr 22nd, 2019
- Campaign Cash: Evers Opposes ‘Dark Store’ Loophole - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Feb 12th, 2019
- Rep. Robyn Vining Commends Gov. Evers’ Plan to Close Dark Store Loophole - State Rep. Robyn Vining - Feb 6th, 2019
- Homeowners Triumph under Gov. Evers - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Feb 5th, 2019
- Local Leaders Demand Big Store Tax Reform - Graham Kilmer - Oct 9th, 2018
- The State of Politics: Clash Over Assessments, Property Tax Brewing - Steven Walters - Sep 10th, 2018
- Close Dark Store Loophole, Campaign Urges - Danielle Kaeding - Aug 30th, 2018
- The State of Politics: Growing Concern Over Dark Store Loophole - Steven Walters - Apr 23rd, 2018
- Op Ed: Dark Store Loophole Costs Taxpayers - John Eiden - Apr 16th, 2018
- Op Ed: Homeowners Getting Stuck With Tax Bill - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Mar 25th, 2018
- Republicans Lower Walmart’s Property Taxes, Raise Yours - State Rep. Jimmy Anderson - Feb 13th, 2018
- Campaign Cash: Republicans Stall “Dark Store” Bill - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Dec 14th, 2017