Real Estate Interests Back GOP Bill
Change in how assessments done will cut commercial property taxes and hike them for residents, opponents charge.
The measure, Assembly Bill 610, would require municipal assessors to use actual or market rent to determine assessed value, which is the amount set as the basis for property taxes. The bill would also prohibit assessors from using projected rents or other future or anticipated benefits, list prices, or price trends to determine fair market value.
Opponents, which include local governments and assessors, say they oppose the bill because it sharply changes the way assessors determine property value and makes it more difficult for homeowners to get information to convince the assessor that the property was overvalued.
Some local officials, including Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly, suspect that the bill’s supporters want to increase residential property taxes in order to decrease commercial property taxes, and extend the so-called “dark store loophole” to cover income-producing businesses.
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 loophole.
The new measure, which was introduced by GOP Rep. Robert Brooks, of Saukville, and Republican Sen. Dan Feyen, of Fond du Lac, has been approved by the Assembly and awaits considerations by the Senate.
Brooks, who is a realtor, received $27,720 in campaign contributions from the real estate industry – his top special interest group contributor – and another $4,785 from construction interests between January 2014 and June 2021. Brooks’ top contributors among real estate and construction interests between January 2014 and June 2021 were:
Wisconsin Realtors Association political action committee (PAC), which is one of the groups backing the bill, $3,000,
Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin PAC, $1,500,
Bruce Bloemer, of Port Washington, president of BruBon Consulting, $1,150.
Feyen, who is a retired printing company employee, accepted $36,480 in campaign contributions from construction interests and $31,031 from the real estate industry between January 2015 and June 2021. Feyen’s top contributors among real estate and construction interests between January 2015 through June 2021 were:
Wisconsin Realtors Association PAC, $5,000,
Louie Lange III, of Fond du Lac, owner of Commonwealth Development Corp. of America, $3,000,
Concerned Realtors Committee PAC, $3,000.
Wisconsin Realtors Association
Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP Wisconsin)
Cities of Madison and Milwaukee
Dane County Cities and Villages Association
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
- Campaign Cash: Real Estate Interests Back GOP Bill - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Nov 18th, 2021
- 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
Read more about Dark Store Loophole here