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Washington County Board Approves ‘dark store’ referendum | By Jamie Ludovic

July 13, 2018 – Washington County, WI – Voters in Washington County will be asked on the November 6, 2018 ballot whether the state Legislature should take action to close the ‘dark store’ property tax law loophole.

“Wisconsin’s entire property tax system is based on equity,” said County Administrator Joshua Schoemann. “The current ‘dark store’ loophole is a threat to this system and risks continued shifting of the property tax burden from commercial and industrial properties to residential taxpayers.”

‘Dark store’ refers to the practice of commercial taxpayers appealing their property tax assessments and, in many cases, owing less in taxes as a result.  Commercial retailers argue on the grounds that their buildings should be assessed the same as a vacant building of the same size.

“Our County Board thought it was necessary to ask voters if the equity of the property tax should be preserved and dark store loopholes be eliminated,” added Schoemann.

For voters in Washington County, the question will ask:

Should the state legislature enact proposed legislation that closes the Dark Store loopholes, which currently allow commercial retail properties to significantly reduce the assessed valuation and property tax of such properties, resulting in a substantial shift in taxes levied against other tax paying entities, such as residential home owners, and/or cuts in essential services provided by an affected municipality?

According to County Clerk Ashley Reichert, the Advisory Referendum – Property Tax ‘Dark Store Loopholes’ will be located on the back of the November 6th, 2018 General Election ballot.  “As this referendum is advisory, it will empower the citizens of Washington County to share their opinion, in a non-binding manner, on the specific topic of Dark Store Loopholes,” she added.

    

1 COMMENT

  1. Assessments are made according to the building and the property value. An Assessor does NOT have the right to place a value on the BUSINESS THAT IS CONDUCTED IN THE BUILDING! That is a personal property tax…. or an Income Tax….. or a manufacturing tax all of which the STATE would have to value NOT THE LOCAL ASSESSOR. This shift of the “tax burden” is a bogus COUNTING THE CHICKENS BEFORE THEY ARE HATCHED…… meaning the “shift” only occurs in the DREAMS of the politicians because it is money that has NOT been assigned NOR collected…. but your local politicians are counting on something that was never there. Their calculations are all based on HIGH values they would LIKE to get from these stores but as of NOW they do NOT have anything IN THEIR pocket that they claim to be losing. This NEW ADMINISTRATOR IS RUINING WASHINGTON COUNTY. He is trying to run our county like it is a LARGE CITY LIKE NEW YORK… CHICAGO…. OR MILWAUKEE. HIS IDEAS ARE way ABOVE what Washington County has held with much pride for all these years. Our local politician MUST be told that “PROGRESS” that Mr Shoemann brings to Washington county is NOT always a “good” thing. As it is now it seems NO ONE on the County board is answering to the tax payer anymore. With FEES for parks and talks of MORE cuts to parks and services the tax payer NEEDS… NOW is the time to speak out people. Let your County Supervisor KNOW that if things keep going Mr Shoemann’s way… THEY WILL ALL BE VOTED OUT OF A JOB…. BUT REMEMBER MR SHOEMAN WILL REMAIN . We will still be left with the one who caused the problems in the first place! Why not take his salary and divide it among yourselves….. you did a LOT better job without him! Please don’t fall for the lies of a tax burden shift… this is another way politicians think they can get money from where they have NO RIGHT to get it from. If you want businesses in West Bend I urge you NOT to tax these stores on their income values or West Bend could become a ghost town with these business closing up and leaving and THEN you will find out how much value a TRUE DARK STORE WILL GENERATE FOR THE POLITICIANS TO SPEND.

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