News Flash

Posted on: November 19, 2018

How the “dark stores” loophole helps big-box retailers evade millions in property taxes

“(S)uggesting is that we use these dark stores as comparables to their ongoing stores, even though the bundle of rights is different,” Winter says. But “to use that as a comparable, without an adjustment, for the value of an ongoing operation, doesn’t .."

Sam Bloch, The New Food Economy Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: November 19, 2018

Continued Reaction To So-Called Dark Store Loopholes

A guest (Jerry Deschane) from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities joined us on Nov. 13 to discuss the results to dark store referenda questions and talk about what he hopes is next on this issue.

Breann Schossow, Wisconsin Public Radio Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: November 19, 2018

Tax 'loophole' critics win big on Election Day, but prospects for real change unclear

Voters in 23 Wisconsin municipalities overwhelmingly backed nonbinding referendums on Tuesday to close the so-called “dark store loophole,” which its detractors say unfairly shifts the property tax burden from large retailers to homeowners.

Chris Rickert, Wisconsin State Journal Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: November 19, 2018

Local and state leaders: Voters make 'dark store' directive clear

“It is an important issue to the village...,” Steinbrink said. “It affects small businesses & residential taxpayers. It is actually an easy fix. Without action, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep taxes low and services good.”

JILL TATGE-ROZELL, Kenosha News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: November 19, 2018

Rock, Walworth counties OK dark store advisory referendums

Voters in Rock and Walworth counties overwhelmingly passed advisory referendums calling for an end to the dark store legal theory.

The referendums passed with more than 70 percent support in both counties.

Jim Dayton, Gazette Extra Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: November 19, 2018

Wisconsin election: Voters favor closing 'dark stores' property tax loophole

"(B)ut it certainly, I think, speaks volumes. ... That's pretty significant when you've got 50,000 voters telling their elected officials that we want this loophole closed," said Outagamie County Board Chairman Jeff Nooyen...

Alison Dirr, Appleton Post-Crescent Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 29, 2018

City approves nearly $130,000 combined payout to settle Lowe's 'dark store' lawsuit

"More than $129,000 in local taxpayer money will go to Lowe's after city leaders settled a lawsuit with the national home improvement chain."

John Sadler, Oshkosh Northwestern Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 29, 2018

Officials urge support of Dark Store referendums

"Antaramian said if the loophole is not closed it will amount to a $350 increase on an average city home.

This comes as residential taxpayers’ share of the state’s overall property tax pie has increased to 67 percent..."

JILL TATGE-ROZELL - Kenosha News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 29, 2018

VOTERS TO WEIGH IN ON 'DARK STORE LOOPHOLE'

The report showed of the 11 municipalities studied, value losses could range from 4 to 14% - resulting in a $187 million shift to other taxpayers. In Beloit, multiple businesses have disputed their property tax assessments, including the Staples...."

AUSTIN MONTGOMERY, Beloit Daily News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 29, 2018

“Everyday the state Legislature does not act to close these loopholes, taxes are increasing for all

“Everyday the state Legislature does not act to close these loopholes, taxes are increasing for all homeowners, small businesses and other property owners in Kenosha and the rest of the state,” Kenosha Ald. Dan Prozanski

JILL TATGE-ROZELL - Kenosha News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 23, 2018

Kenosha county officials tackle ‘dark store loophole’ issue, put referendum on November ballot

Stoner is the Village of Somers president and said the issue of the "dark store loophole" needs to be dealt with quickly. "Just for the year 2017 for Sam's Club, we have to give back $13,795 and to Walmart, we have to give back $25,305 and that's just...

Jonathon Gregg, Fox 6 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 18, 2018

EDITORIAL: It’s time to pay attention to the dark store loophole

Manawa is a quaint city in Waupaca County with roughly 1,300 people who found out the hard way the damage the dark store loophole can do in communities.

Last year, TreeHouse Foods successfully argued in mitigation that the value of a food processing...

Ben Rodgers, Editor, The Press Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 18, 2018

VIDEO: Local officials push to close dark store loopholes

The group implored candidates for governor to be a leader on closing the tax law loophole.

WBAY2 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 18, 2018

Many voters to see referendums on so-called 'dark store loophole'

"The less in taxes that commercial properties have to pay the more everyone else has to pay and that's primarily homeowners and businesses," explained Witynski.

Amber Luckett, Fox 11 News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 18, 2018

Five things to know about the 'dark store' referendum on midterm ballots

"The one thing that gets lost in talking about the details is the reason local governments are concerned," said Curt Witynski, deputy director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. "They're concerned about the fairness of the property-tax system."

Natalie Wickman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 10, 2018

‘It’s not right:’ Elected officials urge candidates for governor to close tax loopholes

"Our residents should not be having to incur this cost for an unfair tax shift," said Kathy Ehley, mayor of Wauwatosa. The leaders drafted a letter seeking relief from the so-called "dark store"/ "Walgreens loopholes"....

Beverly Taylor, Fox 6 News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 10, 2018

Local Leaders Demand Big Store Tax Reform

The effect of these loopholes is that property tax revenues from these large companies and corporations go down, and the tax burden paying for essential services like police and fire is shifted to homeowners and small business owners.

Graham Kilmer, Urban Milwaukee Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 7, 2018

Burlington to consider joining dark store tax battle

Whenever big box retailers such as Walmart use the dark store loophole to avoid paying higher taxes, residents and small businesses pay the price, which has caused most state municipalities to urge lawmakers to stop the practice.

Jason Arndt, Editor, My Racine County Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: October 7, 2018

Panel wants property assessment loopholes closed

Homeowners in Wisconsin already pay 70% of property taxes statewide. And Douglas County want to make sure that share doesn't grow. But a loophole in Wisconsin law is helping big box and chain stores use tax avoidance strategies that shift the burden....

Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: September 21, 2018

La Crosse area officials: Dark store loophole unfair to homeowners

What’s known as the dark store loophole unfairly shifts the tax burden from big box stores to homeowners and small businesses La Crosse’s elected officials said Monday during a town hall event with the area’s state representatives.

Jourdan Vian, La Crosse Tribune Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: September 21, 2018

Walmart sues city over tax funds

MONROE — A well-known corporation has filed a lawsuit against the city to recover funds it claims the city took illegitimately through property taxes.

Bridget Cooke, Monroe Times Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: September 12, 2018

Groups make pitch for and against 'dark stores'

For example, McHugh said the Walgreens store at 6125 Durand Ave. sold for roughly $6.3 million but, “When they appealed their assessment, they asked that it be lowered to $1.75 million.

Ricardo Torres, Racine Journal Times Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: September 12, 2018

Municipalities, businesses butting heads over “dark stores”

The battle over so-called “dark stores” is creeping into more Wisconsin communities like Sturgeon Bay. According to the Wis Policy Forum, 79 Wisconsin communities had appeals of their property taxes filed against them in 2017....

Tim Kowols, Door County Daily News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 28, 2018

Are “Dark Store” Property Tax Challenges on the Rise?

“Dark store” appeals are made by businesses – often retailers – seeking to lower their property tax assessments and overall tax bill. Our survey suggests they may be rising in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Policy Forum, Focus Newsletter #18 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 28, 2018

'Dark store' appeals on the rise in Wisconsin

Jerry Deschane, executive director of the League, said he hoped the latest round of appeals by large retailers would get lawmakers' attention. "This thing is a snowball and the more it's allowed to run downhill, the bigger it's going to get," he said.

Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 27, 2018

Shifting the Tax Burden

Shifting the tax burden: If plaintiffs win lawsuits over property tax assessments, taxpayers could see $561K on their tab
Taxpayers could be on the hook for $561,183 if plaintiffs in 11 civil lawsuits challenging property tax assessments filed . . . .

Christena T. O’Brien, Leader-Telegram Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 24, 2018

City, Walmart settle value dispute--for now

A dispute between Walmart and Monona officials over the value of the business’ property has been settled, with a few elected officials saying it’s the best the city could hope for in the short term.

Kevin Passon for The Herald-Independent Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 17, 2018

Dark Store Reform Important to All of Us

The city of Oshkosh is taking a stand to address a disturbing trend in property valuation. This trend is shifting the bur-den of property taxes from big-box retail stores to homes and small businesses. The term you may be familiar with is
“dark store.”

Oshkosh Mayor Seven Cummings, Oshkosh Herald Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 16, 2018

Lasse: Dark store Theory is a con

I am a developer in the city of Janesville and have worked on numerous projects over the last 25 years including the Kmart/Festival redevelopment, Oasis/Menards redevelopment, Castle Metals, Upper Lakes Foods, IPM Foods and ANGI Energy Systems . . . .

Tom Lasse, GazetteXtra Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 15, 2018

West Allis voters loudly demand Legislators close the so-called dark store loophole

Local voters in Tuesday's primary election stood solidly behind West Allis officials in wanting the state legislature to close the so-called dark store loophole that has resulted in big-box stores getting drastic reductions in their property tax . . . .

Jane Ford-Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 17, 2018

10 new lawsuits protest Eau Claire tax bills

Ten additional civil lawsuits — seeking more than $458,000 in property tax refunds — have been filed against the city of Eau Claire. Six of those have been filed by KT Real Estate Holdings . . . concerning six Kwik Trip locations; two by Menard Inc. . .

Christena T. O'Brien, Leader-Telegram 8-1-18 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 14, 2018

Marshfield may join Dark Store fight

The city of Marshfield may join the Dark Store tax loophole campaign, as Wisconsin municipalities band together against some “big box” retailers.

The loophole involves active retail stores being taxed as if they were . . . .

Chris Leonhardt, Hub City Times Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 10, 2018

Janesville Residents Could See Higher Tax Bill due to Dark Store Law Suites

The property tax bill of an average Janesville home could increase by more than $26 if pending property assessment appeals against the city are successful. Janesville is involved in 11 pending appeals from local businesses. They are seeking a . . . .

Janesville Gazette Xtra Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 10, 2018

Dark Store Loophole: Walmart and Menards Take Action Against City to Lower Assessed Value

City Communicates OnFocus – The Finance, Budget and Personnel Committee approved making a $2,500 donation to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities to help in their fight against the Dark Store Loophole currently used in Wisconsin.
“Wal-Mart and . . . .

Focus on Marshfield Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 9, 2018

Roundy's sues Shorewood over 'excessive' Metro Market assessment

Roundy's has filed a lawsuit against the village, claiming the assessed value of the Metro Market is "excessive." The village has assessed the two-story grocery store at $25.3 million, but the complaint filed by Roundy's claims the grocery store . . . .

Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 8-8-18 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 9, 2018

City Manager Mark Freitag, Janesville, Dark Store Op-Ed

In an editorial published August 5, 2018, the Janesville Gazette criticized the City for advocating for the state to put an end to the “dark store” property assessment loophole which shifts the property tax burden from large corporations . . . .

Mark Freitag, Janesville Gazette Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 6, 2018

City may aid dark store lobbying efforts

Monona city officials appear to have temporarily settled a pair of lawsuits by Walmart challenging its property assessment, but that doesn’t mean the city is giving up on the broader issue. Alders on Monday will consider a resolution to donate. . . .

Kevin Passon for The Herald-Independent Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 23, 2018

Sturgeon Bay Wal-Mart gets reassessed in dark store case

The city of Sturgeon Bay and Wal-Mart will head to mediation this fall to discuss the store’s current property assessment. Last September, the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust filed a suit against the city in Door County Circuit Court . . .

Tim Kowols, Door County News, July 20, 2018 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 10, 2018

Pleasant Prairie approves agreement for hotel development

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The Village Board here has unanimously approved a developer’s agreement for a future corporate campus with a hotel and other services in the LakeView Corporate Park.

Terry Flores, Kenosha News in The Journal Times Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 9, 2018

With bills blocked, get familiar with 'dark store' referendum

Gov. Scott Walker is ready to sign bipartisan legislation to close the “dark stores” loophole that allows big retailers to curtail their tax assessments.
He made that clear during his visit to Kenosha for the Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade.

Kenosha News, July 9, 2018 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: April 25, 2018

Growing Concern Over Dark Store Loophole

The “dark store” controversy now ranks with the failure to pay for long-term highway construction as the most difficult issues facing the governor and legislators seeking reelection in November.

Stevens Walters, Urban Milwaukee Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: April 6, 2018

Democratic legislators committed to closing ‘dark store loophole’

State Rep. Jimmy Anderson and other Democratic legislators are assuring Dane County Board members and other local officials of their commitment to legislation that would close the “dark store loophole” used by big box retailers to lower their tax. . .

The Herald Independent April 4, 2018 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: April 2, 2018

Outagamie county sets referendum on dark store tax loopholes

APPLETON - Voters in Outagamie County will get an opportunity to add their voice to the debate over Wisconsin's so-called dark store tax loopholes.

The County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to hold an advisory referendum on the issue . . .

Duke Behnke, USA Today Network-Wisconsin Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 26, 2018

Council denies excessive tax claims

During open session, the Menomonie City Council passed a resolution asking state legislators to approve current legislation that would close property law loopholes used by some national chain stores to substantially reduce the property taxes they pay.

Barbara Lyon The Dunn County News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 26, 2018

Compromise on how to tax large retailers falls apart in wee hours of Assembly finale

A last-ditch bid in the state Assembly to address efforts by large retailers to lower their property-tax assessments, which critics say shifts tax costs to homeowners, has collapsed, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said early Friday.

Mark Sommerhauser Wisconsin State Journal Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 22, 2018

WalMart Wants Tax Refund Due to "Dark Store Theory"

Wal-mart is contesting the property assessment of its Minocqua store, contending the property is worth much less and thus it’s due a refund of thousands of dollars it paid in property taxes.

Dean S. Acheson Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 19, 2018

City takes on 'dark store' tax strategy

The City Council may take action Monday on a resolution that would ask the state Legislature to act on ending “dark store” strategies in the city and state.
As defined by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, “dark store theory” is . . . .

Ben Rueter Leader-Telegram Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 12, 2018

Close the Dark Stores Tax Loophole

Would GOP legislators rather raise property taxes for others than lose political donations?
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) declared that legislation to reign in . . . .

State Sen. Janis Ringhand, Urban Milwaukee Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Columbus wants Dark Store loophole closed

The city of Columbus joined leaders across Wisconsin in designating Dec. 11 as “Dark Store Day” to draw attention to legislation designed to close the dark store loophole. As big box retail chains and single tenant commercial properties use these. . .

Columbus Journal December 11, 2019 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Wisconsin 'dark store' cases threaten to hike your property taxes

Appleton Post-Crescent Large chain-store retailers are trying to cut their property assessments by more than $700 million across Wisconsin — potentially forcing other taxpayers to pay more to fund local public services, a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin...

Madeleine Behr, Doug Schneider and Haley BeMiller Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Mayor Fights for Fairness

Superior Mayor Jim Paine joined local leaders across Wisconsin to designate Dec. 11 as Dark Store Day. The goal was to call attention to legislation designed to close the "dark store loophole," property tax avoidance tactics that aren't available to. . .

Shelly Nelson, Superior Telegram Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Local leaders discuss big box tax implications

Provisions in a newly proposed bill could halt the "Dark Store Strategy" in which commercial property owners argue for the same lower tax assessment given to other stores in town that are vacant. At the heart of the issue: Should a big box store . . . .

Fox 11 News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

A Recent Court Ruling Shines New Light on the Dark Store Appraisal Theory

On Friday morning, October 20, at the Hotel Phillips in downtown Kansas City, word spread among those attending IAAO’s Fall Leadership Days that the Michigan Supreme Court had reached a much-anticipated decision on a big-box/dark store case.

Magazine Association of Assessing Officers Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Dark Store Day Shines Light on Corporate Loophole

Local municipal leaders supported by the Wisconsin League of Municipalities urged people to contact their state representatives on Monday, Dec. 11, Dark Store Day.
Dark Store Day was formed from a growing concern . . . .

Ben Rogers, The Press Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

City leaders gather in Ashwaubenon for "Dark Store Day"

It's a tax avoidance strategy by commercial retailers such as Menards, Walgreens, and CVS Who ask to pay property taxes equal to stores that are vacant or boarded up, when in reality, their stores are booming with business.

Jordan Lamers, Wearegreenbay.com Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

In Ashwaubenon, cities and villages demand legislature close dark-stores loophole

Local leaders from Oshkosh to Howard gathered in Brown County on Monday to demand state lawmakers change a law that they say shifts property tax burdens from chain retailers to homeowners and small businesses. . . .

Doug Schneider USA TODAY NETWORK Green Bay Gazette Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Dark Store Day: 19 mayors speak out against tax loophole that allows some big box retailers to pay l

Nineteen city and village mayors, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday, December 11th spoke out against so-called "dark store" practices. The mayors called it a tax loophole that allows big box retailers to pay millions less in taxes . . . .

Jonathon Gregg, Fox 6 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 11, 2017

Meijer tax appeal costs Merrillville $2.3M

Merrillville Town Council is tightening its purse strings after losing a tax appeal from Meijer totaling almost $2.3 million. "We'll see a salary ordinance with no raises because of this and we may have to lay some people off," Town Manager . . . .

Karen Caffarini, Chicago Post-Tribune Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: November 27, 2017

Big box, Small tax bill

Monona resident Peter McKeever wasn’t sure how many people would show up at the community meeting he co-organized to raise awareness about the so-called “dark store” tax loophole and the lawsuit that Walmart has filed against the city of Monona.

Allison Geyer Isthmus November 22, 2017 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: September 14, 2017

Lawmakers want to close ‘dark-store’ tax loophole

Local government officials are backing two GOP bills they say would protect them from undergoing costly legal challenges spurred by big-box stores looking to lower their property taxes. But others countered the two bills target one type of business. . .

WisPolitics.com Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 25, 2017

Baraboo joins tax fight against retailers

Baraboo is joining communities statewide in asking the state Legislature to close a tax loophole exploited by big-box retailers. On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to support a resolution asking for legislation to eliminate the “dark stores”

Ben Bromley Baraboo News Republic Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 21, 2017

Guest column: ‘Dark store’ loophole must be closed

There’s an issue citizens of the city of Monona and residents across the state of Wisconsin should be aware of, called the “dark store” loophole. Big box stores like Menards, Target and Walmart, to name a few, are successfully arguing in court that . . .

Andrew Kitslaar The Herald-Independent Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 21, 2017

Reilly supports bills against 'dark store' tax assessments

Says trend saves for big-box stores, increases tax burden on homeowners

Hannah Weikel Freeman Staf July 20, 2017f Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 21, 2017

States Forced to Address ‘Dark Store’ Valuation Theory

A growing list of states will revise their property tax codes to help municipalities cope with revenue losses attributable to big box retailers’ widespread use of the “dark store” theory of valuation to cut their assessments, according to . . .

Michael J. Bologna for Bloomberg BNA June 29, 2017 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 3, 2017

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 . . . .

Steven Dent We Are Green Bay June 29, 2017 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: June 28, 2017

How Big Box Stores Shift Their Property Taxes Onto Homeowners

Something called the “Dark Store Loophole” lets companies like Wal-Mart shift their property taxes to homeowners and small merchants.

This obscure [property tax dodge, which has been going on for more than two decades, has pitted Big Box retailers . . .

Al Norman HUFFPOST June 27, 2017 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: June 22, 2017

City to state: Hurry up on 'dark store' legislation

The City of Sheboygan is throwing its support behind Wisconsin lawmakers’ efforts to pass “dark store” legislation that could affect how much state businesses pay in local property taxes.

McLean Bennett USA Today Network WI Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 18, 2017

Bills to Stop Big Retailers from Reducing their Property Tax Wins Wide Support

The Village of Pleasant Prairie, along with scores of other Wisconsin municipalities, have expressed their vehement support for two bills to be introduced Monday in the State Legislature to fight attempts by big box retailers to reduce their property tax.

By Long Hwa-shu for theYOUJournal Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 11, 2017

Wisconsin Expected to Tackle Dark Store Controvery

Wisconsin lawmakers will be asked to remedy two gaps in the property tax code that could shift much of the local tax burden from big box retailers such as Lowes Cos. Inc., Home Depot Inc. and . . .

April 6, 2017 Bloomberg BNA Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP Lawmakers Unveil Bills Targeting Big Box Stores

Big box stores in Wisconsin are being targeted in a pair of Republican-backed bills unveiled Wednesday at the state Capitol. The bills unveiled Wednesday set up a fight pitting retail giants like Target, Menards and Walgreens against Wisconsin . . .

By Shamane Mills and The Associated Press Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 4, 2017

Wisconsin lawmakers look to close ‘dark store’ loophole

Legislation being introduced at the Capitol could change the way major retailers have their property taxes assessed. The package of bills from Republican lawmakers would reverse a 2008 State Supreme Court ruling that changed . . . .

Andrew Beckett Wisconsin Radio Network Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP bills target 'dark store' big-box tax strategy based on Madison court ruling

May 4, 2017 Republican state lawmakers have unveiled a pair of bills they say would prevent owners of big-box retail stores from lowering their property tax bills while shifting local tax burdens to small businesses and homeowners.

Mark Sommerhauser Wisconsin State Journal Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: March 20, 2017

Big box stores gird for battle with Wisconsin cities

A battle pitting big-box retail giants including Menards and Wal-Mart against Wisconsin towns and cities is headed to the Legislature. Republican-backed proposals, written in conjunction with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, are designed to . . . .

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: March 20, 2017

Retailers' tax dodge shifts burden to homeowners

Recently I went to Madison as part of a delegation of Stevens Point elected officials for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ lobby day. At the top of the agenda: a tax dodge that major retailers are using to avoid paying their fair share . . . .

David Shorr, for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Boxed In

download.png

A highly informative documentary film explaining the complex, yet devastating “Dark Store” tax loophole issue facing Wisconsin communities. This is a hot topic the League of Wisconsin Municipalities has been fighting for more than a ye...

Read on...

See the video on YouTube Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Retailers seek tax cuts with 'dark store' theory

Chiller Dark Store.png

By Rick Romell January 14, 2017Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Cities brood over 'dark store' tax lawsuits

tax-graphic-840x840 (1).jpg

By Nate Beck December 26, 2016
Photo by Joe Sienkiewicz/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

USA Network-Wisconsin Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

How Big-Box Retailers Weaponize Old Stores

800x-1.jpg

Shannon Pettypiece December 8, 2016
Photo by Alamy

BloombergBusinessweek Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Brookfield sends message to combat big retail loopholes

By Geoff Bruce December 7, 2016
Photo by Geoff Bruce/New Media Group

Brookfield Elm Grove Now Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Dark store theory: The move big box retailers are making that could cost you big bucks

brit5.jpg

By Brittany Shannon Fox 6 News December 4, 2016
Photo by Brittany Shannon

Fox 6 News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

West Bend asks governor, legislators to close tax loopholes

11012016_biz_loopholes.jpg

By Ralph Chapoco November 2, 2016
Photo by John Ehlke/Daily News

Daily News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Big-Box Stores Battle Local Governments Over Property Taxes

walmart-gone.jpg

BY Liz Farmer | SEPTEMBER 2016
Photo by Flickr/Brutal Social

Governing Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Should Lowe's 'dark store' strategy in Texas concern D-FW taxpayers?

1473605615-SPORTS-AUTHORITY.jpg

Maria Halkas September 12, 2016
Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Dallas News Dark Store Loop Hole

News Flash

Home

2 Stories
Posted on: November 20, 2018

Updated Local Candidates Campaign Finance Committee Manual

VOTE WIS

We have combined the Local Candidate Campaign Finance Committee Manual and the registration statement in one document.  Find it here. Please also note that League Legal Counsel will be providing an updated Elections FAQ in the near future.&nb...

Read on...

combined Local Candidate Campaign Finance Comm... Home
Posted on: October 15, 2018

A Cautionary Tale...

all the queens horses

TWO DATES – TWO LOCATIONS!  CHOOSE WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR STAFF!  Register here.  

Wednesday, NOVEMBER 28, 2018                 Thursday,...

Read on...

Register by the deadlines... Home

News Flash

Posted on: April 17, 2017

SB 94

w wash view

Making a technical change to the process by which a mayor is to inform council members that a special meeting has been called.

Additional Info... League Legislative Communications
Posted on: March 9, 2017

SB 48

Logo art only.jpg

Allowing Financial Assistance Programs for Replacement of Lead Service Laterals

Additional Info... League Legislative Communications
Posted on: March 9, 2017

AB 70

Logo art only.jpg

Allowing Municipalities to Publish Meeting Minutes on the Municipality’s Web Site in lieu of the Official Newspaper

Additional Info... League Legislative Communications

News Flash

Posted on: November 30, 2018

FRSA Preempts Ordinance Prohibiting Trains from Obstructing RR Crossings

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently held that the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) and regulations promulgated pursuant to that act preempt a City of Weyauwega ordinance prohibiting any train from obstructing, for more than 10 minutes. . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality December 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 30, 2018

Local Government Emergency Powers

Is your municipality prepared to deal with an emergency? Recent disasters
in communities across the state, like flooding and explosions, highlight
the importance of being prepared to cope with local emergencies.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality December 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 8, 2018

Municipal Publication Requirements

This article provides a basic overview of municipal publication requirements and addresses common questions that arise with regard to those requirements.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality November 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 8, 2018

Kenosha Program "Gets the Lead Out!"

There has been a surge in public awareness of the risks of lead exposure in drinking water. Exposure to lead has been linked to adverse health effects in infants, young children, and pregnant women, and is potentially harmful to adults.

St. Peter, Kobza and Walker Smith November 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 8, 2018

A Silent Revolution of Agency Review

Municipalities frequently interact with state and federal agencies, and they sometimes need courts to review whether an agency decision is arbitrary, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise contrary to law.

Barry J. Blonien, the Municipality October 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 8, 2018

Supreme Court Review for States and Local Governments 2018

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) files Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Big Seven national organizations* representing state and local governments.
Big Cases
In South Dakota v. Wayfair** the Supreme Court ruled . . .

Lisa Soronen the Municipality September 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: August 3, 2018

Removal of Officers: Governing Body Procedures and the Recall Procedure

Can a governing body remove a member who repeatedly fails to show up for meetings? What about a member who always shows up but seems to focus all his or her energy on creating dissent? What about a member who reveals information discussed in closed . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality August 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Determining the Residency of Municipal Officers

At the time they are elected, members of municipal governing bodies and other local elected officers must be resident electors of the municipality. Common council members representing aldermanic districts must not only reside within the city . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality July 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Special Assessments--A Common Way to Recover Costs of Public Improvements

Several months ago a state legislator called me into his office to discuss
a question he had received from a constituent. The constituent had called to complain about the city charging her a special assessment of over $1,000 for sidewalk and curb . . .

Curt Witynski in July 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Managing the Risks of Tax Increment Financing

Tax increment financing (“TIF”) is a local economic development tool that can be an essential ingredient in making a development project happen. However, financing
a development project can expose a municipality and its taxpayers to significant . . .

Matthew Dregne, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP July 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Act 243 Constrains Municipal Development Authority

The Developers bill (2017 AB 770), so called because it was sought by
the Wisconsin REALTORS and the Wisconsin Builders Associations and limits municipal powers to regulate development and recover the cost of serving new development, was signed . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality June 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

The Latest Landlords Legislation--A Description of Act 317

The following description of municipally relevant provisions in Act 317, the Landlords' legislation, is lifted with minor changes from a memo prepared by Wisconsin Legislative Council Principal Attorney Scott Grosz. The League appreciates . . .

Curt Witynski in the Municipality June 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 28, 2018

Board of Review

Each year, spring brings a mix of showers and sunshine. Much like the weather, property taxes provide a healthy foundation for funding local government services. To ensure the effectiveness of this process, fair and equitable taxation is essential.

Micheal Drea, April 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: June 28, 2018

Collecting Room Taxes from Airbnb and other Short-term Rentals

Despite recent changes made to the room tax law designed to help municipalities receive room taxes from short-term rental properties advertising on Airbnb and other online services, the reality is that little has changed in Wisconsin.

Curt Witynski, April 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: March 14, 2018

Municipal Regulation of "Click and Collect" Alcohol Sales

“Click and Collect” describes a practice where consumers order online from a retailer’s website and then pick up their orders at a local store. The use of Click and Collect . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality March 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

An Overview of Municipal Library Board

his article revises and updates an article written and published in the February 2014 issue of The Municipality. Wisconsin’s libraries are a tremendous resource, important to the democratic process, and play a critical role . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality February 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

Legislature Curtails Municipal Conditional Use Permit Authority

The Wisconsin legislature enacted major changes to local zoning authority laws in 2017 that were urged and promoted by developers but described by its legislative supporters as a “homeowners” bill of rights. Nonetheless, the laws passed. . . .

Daniel Olson the Municipality February 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

Public Records Law Application to Individual Local Officials

Most public records requests are handled by municipal clerks, treasurers, administrators, or department heads, and involve records that are routinely created or kept by municipalities in the normal course of business.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality January 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Agenda Control and Presiding Officers

Although agendas are not required
by any state law, many governmental bodies, by custom or procedural rule, use them. They serve important practical purposes by providing a structure that facilitates efficient and effective use of meeting time . . . .

Daniel Olson December 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Items in the State Budget Affecting Municipalities

After nearly three months of legislative delay, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2018 state budget bill into law
as Act 59 on September 21. Like all state budgets, Act 59 is a mixed bag for municipalities, although positive changes slightly . . . .

Curt Witynski in the Municipality November 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

When is a Street a Street?

When is a street a street? Although the question posed by this title may sound like a riddle or the lead-in to a joke, being unable to answer that question is no laughing matter when the outcome is important to those with a stake in the issue.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality November 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Is Your Website Accessible to People with Disabilities?

Local governments are increasingly finding that municipal websites are a cost-effective and efficient way to make information available to the public
24-7 without the direct assistance of government personnel. Not surprisingly . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality October 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

When are Committees "Governmental Bodies" Under the Open Meeting Law?

In State ex rel. Krueger v. Appleton Area School Dist. Bd. Of Educ., 2017 WI 70, the Wisconsin Supreme Court attempted to clarify when a committee constitutes a "governmental body" for purposes of the open meeting law after Krueger, a parent . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality October 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Municipal Case Law Update (Part 2)

This is part 2 of a case law update summarizing cases decided within the last year that affect municipalities but not including U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Part 1 was published in the August issue of The Municipality.

Claire Silverman and Daniel Olson, Sept 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Wisconsin Takings Case

The U.S. Supreme Court decided a major regulatory takings case last week, ending a Wisconsin land-use battle that lasted more than a dozen years. See Murr v. Wisconsin, No. 15-214 (U.S. June 23, 2017). It is not common for
a case to jump . . . .

Jeffrey A. Mandell, the Municipality August 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

Municipal Case Law Update (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 2-part case law update summarizing Wisconsin appellate and 7th circuit decisions affecting Wisconsin municipalities.

Claire Silverman and Daniel Olson, Aug 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

Court Rejects Substantial Zoning and Planning Law Changes

The City of Fitchburg (City) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities
(League) recently won an important Wisconsin Supreme Court case for local government control over municipal zoning, planning, and development.

Daniel Olson, the Municipality July 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: May 22, 2017

Parliamentary Procedure for Local Officials

It is a pretty good guess that most Wisconsin city councils, village boards and their sub-units utilize Robert's Rules of Order as the rules of procedure for their respective body even though no state law requires they be utilized. . . .

Daniel Olson the Municipality June 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: May 22, 2017

Municipal Authority Over Real Property Inspections and Registrations Recently Limited

Many municipalities have property registration and inspection ordinances to ehlp ensure that they have important information regarding buildings within the municipality . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality April 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 8, 2017

Wisconsin Park Boards: Roles, Responsibilities & Rulemaking

The spotlight and attention in Wisconsin city and village government is most often focused on city councils, village boards, planning commissions, community development authorities, and similar governmental bodies with the legal authority . . . .

by Daniel Olson March 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

When must body provide notice under open meeting law that its members are attending other meetings?

League attorneys have received many questions about correspondence sent from the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office of Open Government to Winnebago County relating to whether it is necessary to provide notice under the open meetings. . . .

by Claire Silverman February 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

Dealing with Common Winter Issues

In a 1984 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, former Justice Louis Ceci penned, “Snow is ubiquitous in the state of Wisconsin during the winter months…”1 Although snow does not seem to be quite as “ubiquitous” in Wisconsin during the winter months . . . .

by Claire Silverman January 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

Social Host Ordinances Should be Reviewed

In recent years, many municipalities have enacted social host ordinances aimed at preventing adults from hosting underage drinking parties at private homes. Certain provisions in those ordinances are likely unenforceable. . .

by Claire Silverman January 2017 Legal Articles

News Flash

Posted on: June 5, 2018

Levies, assessments and equalized value: Unraveling the property tax knot in Wisconsin

What is equalized value, and why does it matter?

In the confounding system of property taxes, lower tax rates don’t always translate to lower bills.

If we paid taxes only to our city or town government — or some unified body — ...

Read on...

Additional Info... Levy Limits

News Flash

Posted on: December 10, 2018

Is 'Asset Recycling' A Fix for Wisconsin Infrastructure Needs?

Partnerships between private entities and public institutions can foster developments that would otherwise never get off the ground. Take, for instance, the Pablo Center at the Confluence in Eau Claire — a $60 million, 142,000-square-foot arts . . .

Elizabeth Dohms, Wisconsin Public Radio News LWM in the News
Posted on: November 30, 2018

Wisconsin lawmakers won't settle debate on liquor licenses for barn wedding venues

Lawmakers seeking to provide clarity to a longstanding debate over whether owners of barns rented for weddings must obtain liquor licenses won't try to settle the question with legislation.

Molly Beck Milwaukee Journal Sentinel LWM in the News
Posted on: November 30, 2018

Fox conn's 'smart cities' competition drew 325 submissions from Wisconsin colleges

Foxconn Technology Group received 325 submissions from students, faculty and staff from Wisconsin colleges and universities for the first round of its “Smart Cities-Smart Futures” competition, according to a company announcement.

Kelly Meyerhofer for LaCrosse Tribune LWM in the News
Posted on: October 2, 2018

FCC Order on 5G Wireless Network Construction Concerns Some Wisconsin Cities

Local officials in Wisconsin say a Federal Communications Commission order aimed at helping build the next generation of high-speed, wireless internet is a giveaway to telecommunication companies that strips government of local control.

Rich Kremer Wisconsin Public Radio LWM in the News
Posted on: September 21, 2018

Walmart sues city over tax funds

MONROE — A well-known corporation has filed a lawsuit against the city to recover funds it claims the city took illegitimately through property taxes.

Bridget Cooke, Monroe Times LWM in the News
Posted on: September 21, 2018

La Crosse area officials: Dark store loophole unfair to homeowners

What’s known as the dark store loophole unfairly shifts the tax burden from big box stores to homeowners and small businesses La Crosse’s elected officials said Monday during a town hall event with the area’s state representatives.

Jourdan Vian, La Crosse Tribune LWM in the News
Posted on: September 4, 2018

New Sauk County Attorney has been 'effective advocate' for local governments

As assistant counsel with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Daniel Olson spent his days providing guidance to local government attorneys. From his office in Madison, Olson took anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 phone calls each year . . . .

Tim Damos, Baraboo News Republic LWM in the News
Posted on: August 14, 2018

Development in cities, villages hit $5.6 billion in 2016, report shows

Development in Wisconsin’s 600 cities and villages hit $5.6 billion in 2016, marking the largest increase since the Great Recession, according to a recent report from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. But the benefits of economic development . . .

WisBusiness.Com LWM in the News
Posted on: July 30, 2018

Dary: Investment in the arts boosts state's economy

There are some truly amazing things going on in Wisconsin! There’s exciting growth in community engagement, reimagining of public spaces and our creative economy programs are stronger than ever. Wisconsin is poised to become a cultural magnet . . . .

Beth Dary Special to The Kenosha News, 7/26/28 LWM in the News
Posted on: July 23, 2018

Sturgeon Bay Wal-Mart gets reassessed in dark store case

The city of Sturgeon Bay and Wal-Mart will head to mediation this fall to discuss the store’s current property assessment. Last September, the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust filed a suit against the city in Door County Circuit Court . . . .

Tim Kowols, Door County News, July 20, 2018 LWM in the News
Posted on: July 11, 2018

Arts Wisconsin seeks nominations for 2018 Arts in the Community Awards

The tenth annual Arts in the Community Awards, presented by Arts Wisconsin in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, honor communities and civic leaders around the state for championing the arts as integral to economic, educational . . .

Anne Katz, Press Release July 11, 2018 LWM in the News
Posted on: July 10, 2018

Our Views: Times to End Disparity in Act 10

A June 27 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court helped bring Wisconsin police and firefighter unions closer to parity with the state’s other public-sector unions, but a major disparity remains—they still can collectively bargain.

GazetteXtra July 9, 2018 LWM in the News
Posted on: July 10, 2018

Regional Arts Activity Highlighted at Rural Arts Forum

“Your stories are so inspiring.” commented MaryAnn Lippert after listening to reports about arts activity from eight northwest Wisconsin communities. Lippert is the director for the northern region of the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

Harriet Rice, Burnett County Sentinel LWM in the News
Posted on: July 10, 2018

State law change affects Lac La Belle

A state zoning law that some Town of Oconomowoc residents had hoped to use to block construction of a corporate headquarters adjacent to the Lac La Belle golf course has been repealed by the state Legislature. “That section was repealed by . . . .

Kelly Smith--Special to the Freeman LWM in the News
Posted on: July 10, 2018

Report sketches positive portrait of Wisconsin's 'creative' industry

Some want to grow Wisconsin’s economy by attracting companies that manufacture LCD panels or mine for frac sand, but a new report emphasizes the economic boost that comes from growing the “creative sector.” Arts Wisconsin--in partnership with the League

Lisa Neff, Wisconsin Gazette.com LWM in the News
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Thiesfeldt Recognized by League of Wisconsin Municipalities

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities presented Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt with their Champion award at the Fond du Lac City Council this week. Thiesfeldt was recognized for his support of local municipal control on the state level . . .

News-Talk KFIZ am 1450 June 28, 2018 LWM in the News
Posted on: May 18, 2018

A Growing Arts Economy Highlights Creative Economy Week

While the arts are fun and creative, a state arts leader says the arts are also a growing component of an areas economy.

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and Arts Wisconsin are partnering to make this Creative Economy Week. . . .

Ken Krall, WXPR Radio May 16, 2018 LWM in the News
Posted on: May 14, 2018

Baraboo graces cover of statewide magazine

Baraboo currently graces a magazine cover as the model of an arts-friendly community. The May issue of The Municipality, published by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, features a photo of the Baraboo High School band performing during the . . . .

Ben Bromley Baraboo News Republic LWM in the News
Posted on: May 11, 2018

Loss of Local Control a Hot Topic at Meeting

Damage in delivery of essential services by local government due to federal and state erosion of local control was the topic of discussion for about 50 participants at the American Legion Taphouse 138 in Viroqua on Tuesday, April 24.

Gillian Pomplun, Crawford County Independent LWM in the News
Posted on: April 25, 2018

Growing Concern Over Dark Store Loophole

The “dark store” controversy now ranks with the failure to pay for long-term highway construction as the most difficult issues facing the governor and legislators seeking reelection in November.

Steven Walters for Urban Milwaukee April 23, 2018 LWM in the News
Posted on: April 6, 2018

Democratic legislators committed to closing ‘dark store loophole’

State Rep. Jimmy Anderson and other Democratic legislators are assuring Dane County Board members and other local officials of their commitment to legislation that would close the “dark store loophole” used by big box retailers to lower their tax. . .

The Herald Independent April 4, 2018 LWM in the News
Posted on: March 16, 2018

Bill would save municipalities money

A bill co-authored by 25th Dist. State Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, would allow municipal officials to serve as election officials. The bill has passed both houses of the Legislature and awaits Gov. Scott Walker’s signature.

Bob Zientara, Barron News-Shield LWM in the News
Posted on: March 8, 2018

Homeowner's tax assessment will drop $800000 after court deems backyard trees agriculture

Plant the right kinds of trees in your backyard and you could save oodles on your property tax bill, after the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in favor of a Town of Delafield resident.

Bruce Vielmetti, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel LWM in the News
Posted on: February 26, 2018

Walters: Push to expand Abele’s powers dies

A Capitol push to dramatically increase the powers of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, and allow local government leaders to switch to biennial budgets, is now opposed by other county and local officials.

Steven Walters for GazetteXtra LWM in the News
Posted on: February 22, 2018

Is a Last-Minute Bill to Help Developers that’s Being Jammed through the Legislature Going to Create

At first glance, Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 770 (AB 770) looks to be a standard piece of Republican-sponsored legislation meant to clear away regulations on new housing projects. The legislation reads almost like a developer’s wish list.

Dan Shaw, Shepherd Express LWM in the News
Posted on: February 22, 2018

WalMart Wants Tax Refund Due to "Dark Store Theory"

Wal-mart is contesting the property assessment of its Minocqua store, contending the property is worth much less and thus it’s due a refund of thousands of dollars it paid in property taxes.

Dean S. Acheson, WXPR Radio LWM in the News
Posted on: February 19, 2018

City takes on 'dark store' tax strategy

MENOMONIE — The City Council may take action Monday on a resolution that would ask the state Legislature to act on ending “dark store” strategies in the city and state.

As defined by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, “dark store theory” is . . . .

Ben Rueter Leader-Telegram LWM in the News
Posted on: February 6, 2018

Green Bay Looks to Hire Someone to Address Rat Problem

Workers with the City of Green Bay are hearing a lot of complaints about rats on the west side of town. Another hire is needed to address the growing rodent problem, says Bill Paape, the city's neighborhood development manager. . . .

Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio LWM in the News
Posted on: February 6, 2018

Sauk City begins wheel tax discussions

Communities across Wisconsin have been struggling to fund much needed infrastructure repair as state lawmakers allocate less and less of the state budget for roads, according to the state DOT. This has led many small communities to . . . .

Autumn Luedke, Sauk City Eagle LWM in the News
Posted on: January 24, 2018

Domestic abuse advocates concerned bill favors landlord rights over those of tenants

As a new landlord-tenant bill aimed at decreasing costs for landlords makes its way through the Wisconsin Legislature, advocates for domestic abuse victims are concerned with many of the bill’s provisions.

Haley Cleghorn, The Badger Herald LWM in the News
Posted on: January 17, 2018

Legislation to Allow Municipal Officials to Serve as Election Officials Passes State Assembley

Today, the State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 85, authored by Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), Representative Ed Brooks (R- Reedsburg), and Senator Janet Bewley (D-Ashland), to allow municipal officials to serve as election officials.

State Rep. Lisa Subeck Urban Milwaukee LWM in the News
Posted on: January 11, 2018

Wisconsin Mulls Limiting Pro-Worker Local Ordinances

Business and labor clashed Wednesday over a Republican bill that would prevent local governments in Wisconsin from enacting a variety of ordinances pertaining to employment matters, including limits on working hours, overtime, benefits, and . . .

Scott Bauer, Beloit Daily News LWM in the News
Posted on: January 8, 2018

Portage Historic Preservation panel faces participation challenges

Erin Foley says she’s history. Doug Klapper, chairman of the city of Portage’s Historic Preservation Commission, says he’ll believe it when he sees a resignation letter from Foley, who says she’s been on the commission since 2008.

Lyn Jerde, Portage Daily Register LWM in the News
Posted on: January 2, 2018

Top 10: State law signed on eminent domain proceedings

It’s been a long fight for Bay City resident David Meixner, and he is tired. But he refuses to give up in the battle to save what he says is his land from eminent domain proceedings.

Sarah Nigbor, Pierce County Herald LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Dark store 'loophole' could be on the way out in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin tax loophole exploited by big box stores could soon be closed if two newly introduced bills get passed into law. Senate Bills 291 and 292 would change the way properties are assessed to prevent businesses from being assessed . . . .

Dominic Lynch, Watchdog.org LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Republican Lawmakers favor Municipal Power Restriction

If the Republican lawmakers of Wisconsin have their way, municipalities in the state could lose all their regulatory power, like the ability to conduct systematic building inspections. These possible new bills are being sponsored by. . .

Danny Abramov, Financial Buzz LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Wisconsin roundup: Group says proposed change would protect bad landlords

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities opposes plans by Republican state lawmakers to limit the regulatory powers of city governments. The Senate Committee on Insurance, Housing and Trade held a hearing at the Capitol Wednesday. The change would end. . .

River Falls Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Senate committee hears testimony on GOP bills that would change tenant-landlord relationship, limit

While sponsors of Republican legislation argue it would promote affordable housing and create a fair rental housing market, others say it would tilt power more toward landlords and limit municipal powers.

Abigal Becker, The Cap Times LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Wisconsin 'dark store' cases threaten to hike your property taxes

Appleton Post-Crescent -- Large chain-store retailers are trying to cut their property assessments by more than $700 million across Wisconsin — potentially forcing other taxpayers to pay more to fund local public services, a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin...

Madeleine Behr, Doug Schneider and Haley BeMiller LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Dark Store Day Shines Light on Corporate Loophole

Local municipal leaders supported by the Wisconsin League of Municipalities urged people to contact their state representatives on Monday, Dec. 11, Dark Store Day.
Dark Store Day was formed from a growing concern . . . .

Ben Rogers, The Press LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

City leaders gather in Ashwaubenon for "dark store day"

Mayors and village presidents from Brown County and the Fox Valley gathered for "Dark Store Day," a day created to raise awareness to the dark store loophole.
It's a tax avoidance strategy by commercial retailers such as Menards, Walgreens, and CVS . . .

Jordan Lamers, Wearegreenbay.com LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

In Ashwaubenon, cities and villages demand legislature close dark-stores loophole

Local leaders from Oshkosh to Howard gathered in Brown County on Monday to demand state lawmakers change a law that they say shifts property tax burdens from chain retailers to homeowners and small businesses.

Doug Schneider USA TODAY NETWORK Green Bay Gazette LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Dark Store Day: 19 mayors speak out against tax loophole that allows some big box retailers to pay l

Nineteen city and village mayors, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday, December 11th spoke out against so-called "dark store" practices. The mayors called it a tax loophole that allows big box retailers to pay millions less in taxes . . . .

Jonathon Gregg, Fox 6 LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Village Board reschedules vote on Foxconn bills

It may be a case of semantics, but the Village of Mount Pleasant is playing it safe when it comes to paying the bills related to the Foxconn Technology Group development project. On Dec. 4, the village’s Finance/Legal/License Committee recommended . . .

Ricardo Torres, The Journal Times LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

State GOP lawmakers seek to limit municipal powers

State Republican lawmakers want to further limit the regulatory powers of Madison and other municipalities, including the ability to do systematic building inspections.
Two bills sponsored by Sen. Frank Lasee, R-DePere, and Rep. Rob Brooks . . . .

Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: December 11, 2017

Eau Claire lawsuit over development subsidies takes on statewide impact, draws in Milwaukee, Foxconn

A lawsuit pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court involves a project in downtown Eau Claire, and its outcome will either reinforce or wipe out local governments’ main tool for financing large developments, including Foxconn Technology Group’s plant.

Sean Ryan, Milwaukee Business Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: December 11, 2017

In stagnant Wisconsin communities, rising public service costs could be problematic

Wisconsin municipalities know all too well what it means to do more with less, and they have for about the last decade. It all has to do with property tax levy limits.

Emilie Heidemann, Lodi Enterprise LWM in the News
Posted on: November 13, 2017

Noise survey circulated to Beaver Dam police, taverns and council members

City Attorney Maryann Schacht is looking for input from the police department, city council members and city taverns about possible changes to city noise regulations.
Schacht said a survey sent to tavern owners and city officials . . .

Ben Rueter for Daily Citizen November 11, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: October 31, 2017

Wisconsin Senate To Vote On Bill To Remove Lead Water Pipes

The Wisconsin state Senate will vote Tuesday on a plan that could help remove lead water pipes running underground in communities throughout Wisconsin.
There are at least 176,000 lead service lines that connect public water mains to Wisconsin homes. . .

Shawn Johnson for WPR News LWM in the News
Posted on: October 30, 2017

Council to examine duties of mayor

With a mayoral election in the offing, the Rhinelander City Council took some time this week to discuss how the position has changed since the city administrator position was added to the government's structure.

Jamie Taylor, River News Reporter LWM in the News
Posted on: October 30, 2017

Appleton named 48th best city to live in

The league of Wisconsin Municipalities Conference is in Appleton this week. A league made up of 601 cities and villages. "We often look to Appleton as an example of good strategic planning,” Gail Sumi, League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

ABC 2 WBAY.com LWM in the News
Posted on: September 25, 2017

NW Passage's Elliott to receive arts award

Northwest Passage and its Director Mark Elliot will be honored as a recipient of the “Arts In The Community Award” Oct. 19 in Appleton. Elliott has led Northwest Passage since 2000. The residential facility on Old Hwy. 35 between Siren and Webster . . .

Sept 22 Burnett County Sentinel LWM in the News
Posted on: September 21, 2017

Gov. Scott Walker vetoes quarry regulation restriction, says policy deserves full debate

Gov. Scott Walker has vetoed a last-minute provision in the state budget that would have stripped local governments of the right to regulate quarries.
Walker is scheduled to sign the $76 billion two-year spending package Thursday . . . .

Chris Hubbuch, La Crosse Tribune LWM in the News
Posted on: August 29, 2017

Baraboo joins tax fight against retailers

Baraboo is joining communities statewide in asking the state Legislature to close a tax loophole exploited by big-box retailers. On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to support a resolution asking for legislation to eliminate the “dark stores”

Ben Bromley Baraboo News Republic LWM in the News
Posted on: August 21, 2017

Municipalities, Roads Feeling Effects of Budget Squeeze

Sturgeon Bay’s streets have deteriorated so badly that the city has convened a special committee to investigate funding solutions to improve them, but streets will get worse before they get better.

Myles Dannhausen, Jr. Door County Pulse LWM in the News
Posted on: August 21, 2017

Local Governments Could Have Less Discretion When Issuing Some Permits

Local governments would have less discretion to deny permits for things like frac sand mines under legislation being marketed as a "homeowner bill of rights."

Rich Kremer Wisconsin Public Radio LWM in the News
Posted on: July 25, 2017

Arts award nominees sought

Arts Wisconsin is seeking nominations for the 2017 Arts in the Community Awards presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. The awards honor communities and civic leaders around the state for championing the arts . . .

The Country Today July 24, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: July 21, 2017

Wisconsin GOP moves to relax property regulations

Two Republican legislators introduced bills Thursday that would make it easier for people to sell and develop their land and for sand mine companies to win local permits. Local government groups blasted the bill as an attack . . .

Todd Richmond Associated Press LWM in the News
Posted on: July 18, 2017

Will Court Ruling Help Rich Homeowners?

Homes make up 72 percent of all real property in Wisconsin. Homeowners will pay more than two-thirds of the $9.6 billion in net property taxes that state and local governments will collect this year. The state Constitution requires a “uniform” tax system.

Steven Walters for Urban Milwaukee July 17, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: July 11, 2017

Sun Prairie's Astrella featured on League TV show

The June guest on the League of Wisconsin Municipalities' “The Local Perspective” is President of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association, Deputy Clerk/Treasurer for the village of Summit and Sun Prairie resident Chris Astrella.

Chris Mertes, The Star LWM in the News
Posted on: July 6, 2017

Ephraim Trustees Embattled Over Sidewalks, Pedestrian Safety

Tensions are rising between Ephraim village trustees as the deadline for the village to submit changes to the upcoming highway resurface plan looms. Trustees clashed over the cost, moral responsibility and legal liability of constructing sidewalks . . .

Jackson Parr Peninsula Plus June 30, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: June 30, 2017

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules for Open Meetings Advocates

The Wisconsin Supreme Court sided with open meetings advocates Thursday in a case involving the Appleton Area School District. . .

Laurel White Wisconsin Public Radio June 29, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: June 28, 2017

How Big Box Stores Shift Their Property Taxes Onto Homeowners

Something called the “Dark Store Loophole” lets companies like Wal-Mart shift their property taxes to homeowners and small merchants.
This obscure [property tax dodge, which has been going on for more than two decades, has pitted Big Box retailers . . .

Al Norman HUFFPOST June 27, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: May 16, 2017

Alderman Johnson Represents Milwaukee at Local Government Day

Cavalier Johnson, Alderman of the 2nd District, joined local government officials and staff from across the state for the First Annual Local Government and Utility Day on May 10 in Madison. City and village officials, as well as municipal . . .

Milwaukee Independent May 15, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP Lawmakers Unveil Bills Targeting Big Box Stores

Big box stores in Wisconsin are being targeted in a pair of Republican-backed bills unveiled Wednesday at the state Capitol. The bills unveiled Wednesday set up a fight pitting retail giants like Target, Menards and Walgreens against Wisconsin . . .

By Shamane Mills and The Associated Press LWM in the News
Posted on: May 4, 2017

Wisconsin lawmakers look to close ‘dark store’ loophole

Legislation being introduced at the Capitol could change the way major retailers have their property taxes assessed. The package of bills from Republican lawmakers would reverse a 2008 State Supreme Court ruling that changed . . . .

Andrew Beckett Wisconsin Radio Network LWM in the News
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP bills target 'dark store' big-box tax strategy based on Madison court ruling

May 4, 2017 Republican state lawmakers have unveiled a pair of bills they say would prevent owners of big-box retail stores from lowering their property tax bills while shifting local tax burdens to small businesses and homeowners.

Mark Sommerhauser Wisconsin State Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: April 25, 2017

Wisconsin business lobby fights funding plan to remove lead from drinking water

April 19, 2017 Wisconsin’s business lobby spoke out publicly Tuesday against a bipartisan legislative proposal to replace thousands of underground pipes that leach toxic lead into drinking water.

Steven Verburg Wisconsin State Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: April 17, 2017

Groups soliciting nominations

April 14, 2017 The Wisconsin Economic Development Association along with award partners--the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the Wisconsin Counties Association and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are soliciting nominations . . . .

Jennifer McBride La Crosse Tribune LWM in the News
Posted on: April 11, 2017

Transportation Shakeup Leaves Local Governments Wondering What's Next

April 10, 2017 The decision by state lawmakers to set aside Gov. Scott Walker's transportation budget has left county, city and town government leaders wondering what's next, especially since they would have been among the biggest winners . . . .

Shawn Johnson for WPR News LWM in the News
Posted on: April 26, 2017

Health Alliance Brings Together Statewide Partners

Across Wisconsin, opportunities to live a long, healthy life are not shared equally by all. Many of Wisconsin’s health outcomes lag behind national averages, and the state is home to some of the most extreme health disparities in the nation.

UW School of Medicine and Public Health LWM in the News
Posted on: March 28, 2017

Wisconsin lawmakers target adults who host underage drinkers

Adults who let teenagers drink in their homes would be breaking the law under a proposal two Republican Wisconsin lawmakers are circulating. The bill would address what Rep. Andre Jacque and Sen. Van Wanggaard call the "social host" loophole . . . .

CARA LOMBARDO Associated Press LWM in the News
Posted on: March 30, 2017

WHEDA and League of Wisconsin Municipalities launch new partnership

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities (the League) are joining together in a new partnership designed to help municipalities learn more about and gain access to WHEDA financing tools.

WHEDA LWM in the News
Posted on: March 24, 2017

States Challenge Retailers on Dark Store Loophole for Tax Assessments

When it comes to negotiating fair property values, commercial real estate professionals and state officials have generally managed the process by knowing when to compromise and when to push back forcefully. . . .

Donna Mitchell for National Real Estate Investor LWM in the News

News Flash

Posted on: May 9, 2017

State's Business Lobby Blocking Efforts to Remove Lead from Water

The business lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) agrees that lead is dangerous to human health, particularly children's, and that lead water pipes serving family homes in municipalities across the state should be replaced. WMC . . .

Curt Witynski Editorial in the Cap Times LWM Opinion Editorials

News Flash

Posted on: October 30, 2017

Statement on Michigan Supreme Court Striking Down Dark Store Tax Avoidance Strategy

Last week the Michigan Supreme Court denied an appeal from big box retailer Menard Inc., effectively ending the so-called “dark store” practice of property valuation in that state. The Michigan Supreme Court denied Menard Inc.’s request

Jerry Deschane, League Executive Director Press Releases
Posted on: May 9, 2017

Celebrate Creative Economy Week Throughout Wisconsin, May 13-20

Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are partnering to celebrate the second annual Creative Economy Week, May 13-20, a week-long celebration of the power, impact and benefits of the arts, creativity and culture in Wisconsin . . .

View the complete press release Press Releases

News Flash

Posted on: March 23, 2017

Best practices program for Madison landlords on its way to City Council

Madison used to have a number of ordinances guiding landlord behavior, but over the past six years, the state Legislature nullified many of them. Now, a landlord “best practices” program aiming to reinforce the policies in those ordinances . . .

Lisa Speckhard for The Capital Times 3/22/2017 Rental Inspection News

News Flash

News Flash

Posted on: August 9, 2018

Roundy's sues Shorewood over 'excessive' Metro Market assessment

Roundy's has filed a lawsuit against the village, claiming the assessed value of the Metro Market is "excessive." The village has assessed the two-story grocery store at $25.3 million, but the complaint filed by Roundy's claims the grocery store . . . .

Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 8-8-18 Walgreens Decision
Posted on: May 4, 2017

Wisconsin lawmakers look to close ‘dark store’ loophole

Legislation being introduced at the Capitol could change the way major retailers have their property taxes assessed.

The package of bills from Republican lawmakers would reverse a 2008 State Supreme Court ruling that changed . . .

Andrew Beckett Wisconsin Radio Network Walgreens Decision
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP bills target 'dark store' big-box tax strategy based on Madison court ruling

May 4, 2017 Republican state lawmakers have unveiled a pair of bills they say would prevent owners of big-box retail stores from lowering their property tax bills while shifting local tax burdens to small businesses and homeowners.

Mark Sommerhauser Wisconsin State Journal Walgreens Decision
Posted on: April 21, 2017

Walgreens loses tax lawsuit that could have cost Kentucky schools millions

The Kentucky Supreme Court declined this month to hear an appeal brought by Walgreens Co., presumably ending a longstanding legal battle between the pharmacy chain and Fayette County officials that threatened to strip hundreds of millions of dollars . . .

Valarie Honeycutt Spears Lexington Herald Leader Walgreens Decision
Posted on: March 20, 2017

Big box stores gird for battle with Wisconsin cities

A battle pitting big-box retail giants including Menards and Wal-Mart against Wisconsin towns and cities is headed to the Legislature. Republican-backed proposals, written in conjunction with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, are designed to. . .

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press Walgreens Decision
Posted on: March 20, 2017

Retailers' tax dodge shifts burden to homeowners

Recently I went to Madison as part of a delegation of Stevens Point elected officials for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ lobby day. At the top of the agenda: a tax dodge that major retailers are using to avoid paying their fair share . . . .

David Shorr, for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Walgreens Decision