MADISON, WI – Senate Republicans once again blocked action to close the “Dark Store” loophole that allows large corporate retailers to shift their property tax liability onto homeowners and small businesses. All across Wisconsin, large corporate retailers have challenged their property taxes by arguing that the value of their new property is the same as an abandoned, or “dark,” property in a different location. Democrats have advocated for closing this loophole and preventing corporations from using vacant, abandoned or dark properties as a comparison for determining the value of a fully operational and occupied building.
“Communities continue to be hurt by the ‘Dark Store Loophole’ that allows corporations to shift their tax burden onto homeowners and small businesses,” said Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Despite the growing pleas from local leaders, Republicans continue to turn a blind eye to this issue that is leaving homeowners and small businesses to foot the bill. Rather than more tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations, Gov. Evers and Legislative Democrats have made it clear we want to close the corporate tax loopholes, restore tax fairness and promote economic opportunities for working families.”
A similar provision to close the “Dark Store” loophole was included in Governor Evers’ 2019-21 State Budget but was removed by Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee on the first day of budget deliberations. In May 2019, and again in June, Senate Democrats tried to close the dark store loophole before the full senate, but both attempts were blocked along party lines with Republicans voting against.