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City of Janesville Testifies in Support of Tax Fairness

Post Date:06/29/2017 8:43 a.m.

On June 29, 2017, City of Janesville staff testified in support of legislation that would close the “Dark Store” property assessment appeal loophole and bring fairness back to the property tax system.  Janesville joined city, village and county leaders from across Wisconsin that are concerned about the shift in property taxes to residential and other taxpayers that is occurring, and will continue to occur, if the proposed legislation is not enacted.    

Since 2011, “dark store” assessment appeals have shifted $1,001,529 in property taxes from big box stores to other taxpayers, such as homeowners and small businesses in Janesville.  This equates to a tax increase of $31.92 for the average assessed household in Janesville ($121,400). Additionally, litigation for these appeals cost the City $181,257.

“This is a million dollar problem for the Janesville community and every homeowner is paying the price,” Deputy City Manager Ryan McCue states. “It’s important to close this loophole and protect residential and small businesses in our community.”

According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, residential property taxpayers pay 68% of the property tax statewide.  Without this legislation, homeowners and other taxpayers will pick up more of the costs as large retailers take advantage of the loophole. 

The Assembly Ways and Means Committee heard testimony today on Assembly Bill 386, the Dark Store Bill and on Assembly Bill 387, reversing the Walgreens v. City of Madison decision.  Both bills close loopholes that some large retailers have been taking advantage of to significantly lower their property tax assessments.  

For more information, please contact the City Manager’s Office at (608) 755-3103.

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