Why has this been added to the ballot?

Many government entities statewide, Kenosha County included, are asking voters in November whether the state legislature should address the “dark store” legislation.  Why?  Municipalities had hoped for a legislative remedy to close the “dark store” loophole during last years session.  Despite having a majority of legislators that stated they would have supported a bill to close the loophole, the issue was never brought to a vote.  The Advisory Referendum will tell the legislature how voters feel about this issue.


What is the “dark store” loophole?

The “dark store” strategy is a tax loophole in the assessment law being used by big box retailers and other national chains to lower the amount they pay in property taxes.  The loophole shifts a significant share of the tax burden from box retailers to homeowners, agriculture, and small business just to maintain the same services (sewer, water, road maintenance, garbage, and fire and safety) provided by municipalities.



How will this impact Somers taxes?

The potential property tax increase, if a “dark store” strategy decision is fully implemented in the Village of Somers, will result in homeowners paying more in property taxes to make-up for the tax reductions.  According to an analysis of 12 communities by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, homeowners could see their property taxes increase by as much as 8% or more.  The Village of Somers Board of Trustees is deeply concerned about more of the property tax burden being shifted onto homeowners.


How can Somers taxpayers voice their opinions?

Vote in the November election.  Look for the referendum on the ballot.
The yes-or-no “dark store” advisory referendum question will read:

“Should the state Legislature enact proposed legislation that closes the dark store loopholes, which currently allow commercial retail properties to significantly reduce the assessed valuation and property taxes of such properties, resulting in a substantial shift in taxes levied against other tax paying entities, such as residential homeowners, and/or cuts in essential services provided by an affected municipality?”



Links to Information About “Dark Store”

Panel Discussion sponsored by League of Wisconsin Municipalities August 27, 2018 and hosted by WisconsinEye (YouTube Link)
League of Wisconsin Municipalities website darkstoreloopholes.org