Have you heard about the Dark Store Loophole that currently exists in Wisconsin?

If you didn’t know, Walmart has filed suit against the City of Monona to reduce its tax assessment from $24.5 million to $9 million, a reduction of over $15 million/year. There is a dark store loophole in Wisconsin that could allow Walmart to pass along their taxes to the residents and property owners in Monona by being assessed as an empty store that is out of business. If Monona’s Walmart is successful in reducing their assessment, Walmart’s tax bill would be reduced by an estimated $433,000. The city would lose $111,000 in tax revenue and the Monona Grove School District would lose about $245,000. As a result, the city would have to drastically cut services, or raise the tax rate for homeowners, property owners and small businesses. To maintain the current level of city services, it would cost the average homeowner an additional $113 in property taxes, and the average commercial property, or small business, approximately $600 more.

Monona is home to eight big box stores and if these bills pass, they would likely follow suit leading to more taxes being handed off by these entities to residents and small businesses in Monona. On average, Monona Police pays a ‘visit’ to Walmart three times each day. The bills passed the committee and are now in leadership’s hands to schedule a vote on the senate floor either October 31 or November 7.

What can you do? Contact Senator Mark Miller urging him to stand up for the residents and small business owners of Wisconsin by closing these loopholes. But, you must act quickly! The votes are taking place in late October or early November 2017. Please share this post with your neighbors and friends so they are aware of this potentially devastating issue in the State of Wisconsin. Senator Miller does support the closing of the loophole but he’s in the minority of those in the senate.

Links are provided below to the issue on the League of Wisconsin Municipalities website. Today, this may be affecting Monona residents, but tomorrow, this will affect every municipality in Wisconsin that has a big box store if the bills closing the loophole do not pass.

On November 6, 2017, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities released this statement regarding the vote on the Dark Store bills being delayed until 2018. 

Here is the statement from League of Wisconsin Municipalities:

“The Senate is not taking up the League’s Dark Store (SB 292) and Walgreens Reversal (SB 291) bills when it meets tomorrow for its final floor period of 2017. There are a number of reasons for this, but it’s not because municipal officials didn’t pressure their legislators sufficiently. The League thanks the many city and village officials who emailed, called, or met personally with their Senator during the last several weeks on the dark store and Walgreens bills. Your efforts were amazing and noticed in the Capitol.

As of late last week, 16 GOP Senators said they would vote in support of the bills. A 17th GOP Senator, Steve Nass, offered to vote yes on the bills only if they were amended to include a three year sunset. Under such an amendment the changes made by the bills would automatically be repealed within three years unless the Legislature passed another bill before that time deleting the sunset provision. Rep. Rob Brooks, the Assembly author of our bills, would not, for good reasons, go along with such an amendment.

There were other reasons the bills were not scheduled for a Senate floor vote this week. Chief among them remains the fact that WMC and other business groups strongly oppose the bills. We anticipated it would be tough to convince GOP leadership in both houses that passing these bills is worth angering their friends. And that has proven to be true.

Nevertheless, we are convinced of the merits of our legislation and we will continue to try to make our case and work toward obtaining a floor vote in both houses in early 2018 when the Legislature returns to finish out the 2017-2018 Session. Your continued engagement will be critical to this effort.”

Q&A Session with Senator Mark Miller
Thursday, November 16 at 7:00pm

Monona Community Center
 (located next to Monona City Hall)
1011 Nichols Road, Monona, WI 53716