News Flash

Posted on: January 11, 2019

Sheboygan voters will have their say on 'dark store' tax loopholes in April election

SHEBOYGAN - The common council voted unanimously Monday to add an advisory referendum that will appear on the April ballot, asking Sheboygan residents if the Wisconsin legislature should consider passing legislation to close....

Diana Dombrowski, Sheboygan Press Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 7, 2019

As Big Retailers Seek to Cut Their Tax Bills, Towns Bear the Brunt

WAUWATOSA, Wis. — With astonishing range and rapidity, big-box retailers and corporate giants are using an aggressive legal tactic to shrink their property tax bills, a strategy that is costing local governments and school districts around the country....

Patricia Cohen, The New York Times Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 30, 2018

2019 Outlook: Lowes, Wal-Mart Property Tax Loophole Under Scrutiny in Wisconsin

Krause said wider application... would have a devastating impact on her community,,, an across-the-board application of dark store...would result in a 17% tax shift to the residential sector in Wauwatosa, costing the ave homeowner $1,100 more.

Michael J. Bologna, Bloomberg Tax Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 30, 2018

Closing the Dark Store Loophole? Referendum results deliver resounding ‘yes’...

On average, 78.65% voters answered “yes” to ballot questions asking if the loophole should be closed. The rejection vote was far bigger in individual places. In Dane County, 91.79% of voters called for ending the loophole, as did... 87.88% in Glendale.

Dan Shaw, Shepherd Express Dark Store Loop Hole
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