May 3, 2017 – West Bend, WI – West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow joined a number of lawmakers in Madison on Wednesday at a joint news conference to talk about several bills regarding the “dark store theory” which is a question on whether operating stores should be taxed the same as a closed retail business location.
The mayor addressed the media at the 17:35 mark in the video from WisconsinEye. His comments are below.
“In West Bend we have a pretty smart, intelligent community and we understand the issue and that is there’s a loophole in the law. Some smart folks identified that loophole and businesses such as Walgreens are choosing to exploit that loophole to the detriment of our home owners, agricultural and small business and we’re simply asking for that loophole to be closed.
A real-world example is that West Bend has two Walgreens stores and combined they sold most recently for $14 million. Through court action they are now being assessed at less than $5 million. Approximately a third of the sales price and what that means to us is about $175,000 in revenue split up between the city, the county, tech college and the school district.
Checks had to be cut back to Walgreens and in fact our West Bend School District cut an $80,000 check back to Walgreens – of course, more than a full-time equivalent of an educator.
We’re simply asking for the loophole to be closed.”
On May 3, 2017, Rep. Rob Brooks (R-Saukville), Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton), and Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg), held a joint news conference in the Assembly Parlor to unveil bills regarding the “dark store theory” and Walgreen Company v. City of Madison reversal.
The Rob Brooks/Stroebel bill
LRB 0372 reverses the 2008 Wisconsin Supreme Court property assessment decision in Walgreen Company v. City of Madison. The bill clarifies for property tax purposes real property includes any leases, rights, and privileges pertaining to the property. The bill codifies the axiom in assessment law that real property be assessed at its highest and best use.
The Rob Brooks/Roth bill
The market segmentation bill, LRB 0373, codifies Wisconsin case law and guidance provided by the Department of Revenue’s Wisconsin Property Tax Assessment Manual, to clarify that when assessors use sales of comparable properties to value property, they must use comparables that are within the same market segment and similar to the property being assessed with regard to age, condition, use, type of construction, location, design, and economic characteristics. Furthermore, the bill explicitly states that vacant, dark stores cannot be used as comparables for open stores. LRB 0373 adopts language from the Wisconsin Property Tax Assessment Manual to codify best practices during assessments.
The lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, are asking lawmakers to oppose the measures.
Click HERE to watch the video from WisconsinEye.