County officials in support of closing dark store loopholes
By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — Executive/Operations Committee officials passed a resolution to authorize a referendum that would urge state legislators to close dark store loopholes.
Called the ‘dark store tax loophole’, large retailers, such as Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and others, are allowed to pay less in taxes due to an assessment of the store’s property based solely on ‘bricks and mortar’, and not the value of the business, as well as products and inventory carried in store.
According to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, large retailers make the case that the value of a property is the same whether it is an abandoned building, (a ‘dark store’), or a flourishing and profitable business. Many retailers believe they are overtaxed in most cases. Many counties across the state have adopted similar resolutions.
According to part of the resolution:
“Unless dark store loopholes are closed, Portage County taxpayers other than big-box stores may be obligated to pay an increased share of the local property tax levy…”
Upon likely country board approval on Aug. 15, the referendum will be added to the Nov. 6 election.