Rhinelander Delivers To Madison Displeasure On Dark Store Loophole

Feb 16, 2017

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Rhinelander's City Council approved a resolution this week asking state legislators to eliminate a tax loophole that muncipalities like Rhinelander think isĀ  unfair.

Called the "Dark Store Loophole", the state tax statute in question allows fully operating large retail stores to claim their property is the same as another large retail outlet that is closed, hence the name Dark Store..as outlined by Finance Committee Chair Mark Pelletier.

".....for example a chain store using maybe a closed store as a comparable to try to come up with what they figure they're value in their building is rather than an open store. Hopefully the state of Wisconsin will change their ways and close this loophole...."

January 11 Menards filed a claim of excessive assessment and is seeking a $51,000 refund for its Rhinelander store.

Council member Alex Young says 70 percent of the property tax burden is among residential property owners....

"...so that shifts additional burden onto residential property owners. Even if the city doesn't spend a nickel more in our budget, it increases taxes for residential home owners because in the shift of the other taxpayers who take advantage of this loophole and pay less...."

Young traveled to Madison this week as part of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Lobby Day, and he took the resolution that passed unanimously with him to present to legislators.