League of Wisconsin Municipalities

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This week, lobbyists for municipalities had a 'Dark Store' day to draw awareness to a situation cities cite as a problem with certain big box stores and their tax bills.

One 'dark store' situation in Rhinelander has been resolved.

The city council this week reached an agreement with Menards. Under what is called the Dark Store loophole, big box stores are allowed to have their assessments judged against large stores that have been closed, as opposed to currently operating facilities.


The head of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities says they've set aside a day next week to prod the legislature to act on closing tax loopholes that are called 'dark stores'.

The City of Rhinelander and others have complained to legislators about the legal loopholes large retail stores are using to lower their tax bills. Large retailers found a loophole in state law where their properties are only worth what it would be if it was vacant or abandoned rather than compared to another large operating store, hence the name 'dark store'.


Austerity is the apparently the "new normal" for Wisconsin communities as 2014 budgets have been finalized.

That message from Dan Thompson, Executive Director of the League of Wisconsin municipalities. The League is an umbrella group for the state's cities and villages.

Thompson says the League each community has different budget situations. But, in general, he says leaders have a similar reaction...