Scott Fitzgerald Calls “Dark Store Loophole” A Complicated Issue

(Beaver Dam) The Wisconsin state Senate has passed a bill dealing with – but not closing – the “dark store loophole.” The so-called loophole is the driving force behind lawsuits filed by big box stores against municipalities related to property assessments. The loophole allows big-box retailers to have their property assessments based on those of vacant competitors, meaning less revenue for local governments and more money shifted to residential and other commercial taxpayers.  Walmart is suing the city of Beaver Dam over its tax bill, hoping to lower the property taxes on both their super-center and distribution center. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the measure – making the tax assessment appeal process easier – was one of three bills to come out of a study committee. The Juneau Republican calls it a “complicated, tedious issue.” Senator Janis Ringhand, who served on the committee studying the issue, said the bill that passed Tuesday does not really help, and two others yet to be voted on will not either.  In the lawsuit that Walmart filed against Beaver Dam, a three-day court trial is on the calendar beginning September 29.