League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Towns Association: Dark store loopholes campaign launched

Jerry Deschane, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, 608-267-2380
Mark O’Connell, Wisconsin Counties Association, 608-663-7188
Mike Koles, Wisconsin Towns Association, 715-526-3157

Campaign to Protect Homeowners & Small Business Owners Launched

            Madison, WI – A campaign to protect homeowners and small business owners against Dark Store Loopholes was launched last week by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Counties Association and the Wisconsin Towns Association.  .

            “When big box retailers use the Dark Store Loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, it means higher property taxes for Wisconsin homeowners and small businesses,” said Jerry Deschane, Executive Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

            “Wisconsin homeowners already pay a disproportionate 68% of the property taxes statewide. That is why Wisconsin’s city, village, town and county leaders have launched this campaign to protect local homeowners and small businesses and to support the bipartisan efforts in the State Legislature to close the Dark Store Loopholes.”

Big box stores like Target, Walmart, and Menards, as well as a growing number of other commercial and manufacturing properties, are using property tax avoidance strategies known as the Dark Store Loopholes to shift even more of the local property tax burden onto homeowners and small businesses. The two loopholes—one known traditionally as the “dark store loophole” and the other as the “Walgreens loophole”—are together commonly referred to as the Dark Store Loopholes.

There is broad bipartisan support for closing both of the Dark Store Loopholes and stop big box retailers from shifting even more of the local tax burden onto the backs of homeowners and small businesses. Last session, two bills closing the Dark Store Loopholes had remarkably broad support among legislators of both parties, and even the Governor said he would sign the measure if it passed both houses. One bill had 84 co-sponsors (63% of the Legislature), and the other had 61 co-sponsors (46% of the Legislature). Clearly, these bills would have passed both houses by huge margins.

The comprehensive effort includes paid media, earned media, social media, netroots legislative outreach, and more. A campaign web site has been launched, as well, at www.DarkStoreLoopholes.org. The first ad in the campaign can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/xO7ED5ydmtg and the second ad here:  https://youtu.be/TqPNEm5hFIo

A whiteboard video explaining the Dark Store Loopholes can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/h7Kurxbd5qE.

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