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West Bend Mayor testifies in Madison on “DarkStore” loophole

June 29, 2017 – Madison, WI – West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow testified today before the Wisconsin Assembly Ways and Means Committee in an effort to encourage lawmakers to close a loophole in a law that allows viable big box stores to contest their property assessments and ask their store be charged the same rate as a store that is closed. 

Sadownikow testified, “In West Bend, we have an intelligent constituency that pays attention to their local governmental activities.” He furthers, “They understand the Dark Store Theory and Walgreen challenges to assessments put at risk the financial stability of communities in Wisconsin.  They know current law will place an undue burden on small business, manufacturing, agriculture and homeowners.”

West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow

Sadownikow went on to talk about the “slippery slope” that has been created with other challenges from WalMart, Menard’s and ShopKo, “Walgreens and Meijer are not being asked to pay someone else’s property tax, just their own, under the same format Wisconsin has been using for decades.  I would like them to stop demanding that we pay theirs.”

Read the full testimony HERE.

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.

For more information on Dark Stores, click HERE.

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