Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Evers Opposes ‘Dark Store’ Loophole

Would end tax break backed by WMC, which has donated $25 million to politicians.

By - Feb 12th, 2019 02:40 pm
Get a daily rundown of the top stories on Urban Milwaukee
Gov. Tony Evers greets members of the Assembly and Senate after giving his first State of the State address in Madison, Wisconsin, at the state Capitol building on Jan. 22, 2019. Photo by Emily Hamer/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Gov. Tony Evers greets members of the Assembly and Senate after giving his first State of the State address in Madison, Wisconsin, at the state Capitol building on Jan. 22, 2019. Photo by Emily Hamer/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers says he wants to close a loophole that big box stores and other companies use to lower their tax assessment and force homeowners to pay higher property taxes.

Bipartisan bills last session to get rid of the loophole were successfully opposed by the state largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), and GOP legislative leaders.

The loophole was created by a 2008 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that allows the value of operating stores to be based on the sharply lower tax assessments of vacant big-box stores. It decreases tax revenues for local communities, which must cut services or increase taxes on homeowners and renters.

Walgreens, Menards, Target, Lowe’s, and others have successfully challenged and slashed their local property tax assessments numerous times throughout the state in recent years, using the “dark store” loophole.

WMC secretly raised and spent about $25.2 million between January 2010 and December 2018 on outside electioneering activities in legislative and statewide races to support conservative and Republican candidates.

Evers said he would include the plan to close the loophole in his proposed 2019-2021 state budget that will likely be introduced later this month and then would be considered by the GOP-controlled legislature in the coming months.

More about the Dark Store Loophole

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us