THE AGENDA: Legislative update
by Steve Baas - Senior VP of Government Affairs
After failing in their attempts to pass a business property tax hike last year, a coalition of legislators is back to try again this year. The so-called “Dark Store” bills they are pushing would empower local municipal assessors to double-tax businesses by allowing business value and profitability (which is already taxed by the state) to be included in the assessed value of their real estate for property tax purposes as well.
This tax assessor empowerment act is being pushed in the name of prohibiting businesses from lowering their property tax assessments by comparing new buildings with vacant or dilapidated properties. That justification is a myth, however, since such apples to oranges comparisons are already prohibited by state law.
Over the past decade, commercial and manufacturing property owners in Wisconsin have seen a more than 2 percent increase of their share of the statewide property tax burden, while residential homeowners have seen a reduction in their share of the tax burden. MMAC will continue its fight against this proposed business property tax again this session. Now is no time to be giving local tax assessors more tools to burden the businesses that fuel their local economies.