The next effort to get rid of a tax loophole that is costing local governments millions of dollars will likely begin during the next legislative session and the City of Rhinelander has joined in.
Called the Dark Store loophole, the large stores reduce their property taxes by appraising their property as if it was a vacant or “dark” store, resulting in a lower tax assessment.
Menards sought a $51,000 refund last year and other stores have asked for the same break. City Attorney Carrie Miljevich told the city council advocates think closing the loophole will pass next session...
"....This legislation has huge bipartisan support and I was surprised it didn't pass(during the last session)...it never went for a vote. They don't plan to do anything different. There is bipartisan support to reintroduce it during the next legislative session, the upcoming one..."
What municipalities have found is after the refund, the tax burden is shifted to local residents as Finance Chair Dawn Rog(rawg) explains...
"...At committee level we also talked about the fact this affects our school district, our county, and Nicolet College. We were the ones asked to pay in, but it does affect the monies they receive as well...."
The council agreed to join in the effort, sending $1,200 to help put the pressure on lobbying efforts for the next session.