MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the state’s chamber of commerce and largest business association – pushed back at the League of Wisconsin Municipalities again on Wednesday for their continued misinformation campaign about the so-called “dark store” loophole.
“When we actually look at the facts, it is easy to see there is no ‘dark store’ loophole,” said WMC Director of Tax, Transportation & Legal Affairs Cory Fish. “This is a cloaked attempt at raising taxes on small-town manufacturers and main street businesses throughout Wisconsin.”
A recently introduced bill – Senate Bill 130/Assembly Bill 146 – is similar to legislation that failed in the previous session, but actually has fewer co-sponsors than its predecessor. It is clear that as policymakers push past the talking points and see the facts, they understand this bill is bad for Wisconsin.
One myth being pushed by proponents of the bill is that residential property owners would see a $150 million tax hike if nothing is done. In reality, there has already been a tax shift, but it is in the exact opposite. According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, over the past 10 years there has been over a two percent shift in the statewide property tax burden the other direction – from homeowners to businesses.
Businesses are paying a higher percentage of the property tax burden than they were 10 years ago. Additionally, municipalities had to refund $3.1 million to businesses in 2017 due to overassessments that were against the law, according to the Wisconsin Policy Forum. Even if there was a tax shift to homeowners – which there is not – the amount is merely a fraction of what has been claimed. It is also a fraction of the overall property tax collections in Wisconsin – 0.03 percent, in fact.
“For years, we have been misled by lobbyists who have an agenda to raise taxes and increase budgets for local governments,” added Fish. “Now that the facts are in the open, policymakers should see this scheme for what it is and oppose the legislation. It is bad for businesses, it is bad for taxpayers and it is bad for Wisconsin.”
For more information about the “dark store” tax hike legislation, click the links below: