Potential legislation is currently being discussed in Madison that could dramatically change how property is valued in Wisconsin. This so-called “dark store” legislation would make it easier for property tax assessors to include other variables – outside of property size, location and structures – to determine the value of a building. In fact, some overly-aggressive assessors have already tried doing this with larger retail stores, leading to massive tax increases. In some cases, retailers saw their property tax bill increase by over 500 percent!
Luckily, the courts have been on the side of property taxpayers and have overturned many of these unwarranted increases. Legislation being discussed would fly in the face of current law, overruling what the courts have said. This could dramatically increase the cost to do business in Wisconsin, but it could also have unintended consequences for all property owners. While the attention has focused on the retail sector, it could set a precedent to raise property taxes on all types of property in Wisconsin. That is why WMC is strongly advocating against this “dark store” legislation.