‘Dark store’ a priority for Outagamie County

Posted at 1 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2017

The Brillion News

APPLETON. – A trick being used by a number of big box retailers to avoid paying their property taxes at full value is being targeted by Outagamie County.

Property tax bills were just issued by the Outagamie County Treasurer as a group of municipal officials called on state legislators to pass a bill that would close a loophole which allows businesses to avoid paying their fair share.

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, Outagamie County Board Chairman Jeff Nooyen, Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna, Kaukauna Mayor Gene Rosin, Town of Grand Chute Chairman Dave Schowalter, Town of Buchanan Chairman Mark McAndrews and Village of Little Chute President Mike Vanden Berg issued a letter to state legislators calling for legislation to close a loophole in the tax code that allows so-called big-box stores to be assessed on par with shuttered facilities of similar size.

Owners of the big box stores are demanding tax rebates, a move that officials insist shifts the burden unfairly onto home owners and small businesses.

Senate President Roger Roth is the sponsor of SB292, which would codify revenue department practice, without adding restrictions.

“We do not want to see that cost shift go to our residential property taxpayers,” Roth said. “That, fundamentally, is why I support this bill.”

The letter urged legislators to prioritize Roth’s bill when they return to session in January of 2018.

The local leaders also issued an open letter to Outagamie taxpayers, asking them to join the call for passage of SB 292.

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