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As I See It

End, don’t expand, dark store loophole



It is called the dark store loophole and it is being utilized extensively in Wisconsin. It is also taking money out of our pockets and handing it over to big box stores. The loophole was created when the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the value of stores like Menards, Walgreens and Target be taxed not on their value, but on the much lower assessment of vacant big box stores. The city of La Crosse has had to return tax money to these stores to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. That means less money in city coffers, so often, residential property taxes go up. There have been calls for eliminating this loophole, but instead some in Madison want to expand it. A lawmaker named Robert Brooks has introduced a bill that would change the way local assessors determine property value, lowering the tax on these big box stores. It would essentially lower assessments of stores, while increasing assessments of residential property. Brooks, by the way, is a realtor who stands to gain if this were to become law, and who has pocketed thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the real estate industry. We shouldn’t be expanding this loophole, we should be ending it. Otherwise big box stores will be paying less taxes, and you and I will be paying more.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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  1. Nick

    November 16, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    We have Democratic Party representation here and moronic Republicans the state. How can a bill get passed to stop this practice?

  2. Colleen LeBlanc

    November 17, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    That is mind boggling that some politician can submit a bill that would further line his own pockets. This practice of letting big chains abandon buildings and pay less in taxes is wrong on so many levels.

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