Evers says budget will include closing ‘dark store’ loophole

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers says his state budget proposal will close the “dark stores” loophole that lets companies assess property taxes using the value of an empty big box store instead of an operational store.

Evers affirmed his commitment to closing the loophole Tuesday after speaking at a meeting of the Wisconsin Counties Association. Local governments have been leading the push to close the loophole that results in a store getting lower property tax assessments, which saves the businesses money but costs governments tax revenue.

Evers calls keeping the current practice in place is a “non-starter.” He says it’s not fair and shifts the property tax burden to others in the community.

The Legislature considered a bill last session that would have prohibited assessors from comparing active stores’ property values to dark stores but the measure never got a vote.

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