News Flash

Posted on: April 6, 2018

Democratic legislators committed to closing ‘dark store loophole’

State Rep. Jimmy Anderson and other Democratic legislators are assuring Dane County Board members and other local officials of their commitment to legislation that would close the “dark store loophole” used by big box retailers to lower their tax. . .

The Herald Independent April 4, 2018 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: April 2, 2018

Outagamie county sets referendum on dark store tax loopholes

APPLETON - Voters in Outagamie County will get an opportunity to add their voice to the debate over Wisconsin's so-called dark store tax loopholes.

The County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to hold an advisory referendum on the issue . . .

Duke Behnke, USA Today Network-Wisconsin Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 26, 2018

Council denies excessive tax claims

During open session, the Menomonie City Council passed a resolution asking state legislators to approve current legislation that would close property law loopholes used by some national chain stores to substantially reduce the property taxes they pay.

Barbara Lyon The Dunn County News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 26, 2018

Compromise on how to tax large retailers falls apart in wee hours of Assembly finale

A last-ditch bid in the state Assembly to address efforts by large retailers to lower their property-tax assessments, which critics say shifts tax costs to homeowners, has collapsed, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said early Friday.

Mark Sommerhauser Wisconsin State Journal Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 22, 2018

WalMart Wants Tax Refund Due to "Dark Store Theory"

Wal-mart is contesting the property assessment of its Minocqua store, contending the property is worth much less and thus it’s due a refund of thousands of dollars it paid in property taxes.

Dean S. Acheson Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 19, 2018

City takes on 'dark store' tax strategy

The City Council may take action Monday on a resolution that would ask the state Legislature to act on ending “dark store” strategies in the city and state.
As defined by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, “dark store theory” is . . . .

Ben Rueter Leader-Telegram Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: February 12, 2018

Close the Dark Stores Tax Loophole

Would GOP legislators rather raise property taxes for others than lose political donations?
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) declared that legislation to reign in . . . .

State Sen. Janis Ringhand, Urban Milwaukee Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Columbus wants Dark Store loophole closed

The city of Columbus joined leaders across Wisconsin in designating Dec. 11 as “Dark Store Day” to draw attention to legislation designed to close the dark store loophole. As big box retail chains and single tenant commercial properties use these. . .

Columbus Journal December 11, 2019 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Wisconsin 'dark store' cases threaten to hike your property taxes

Appleton Post-Crescent Large chain-store retailers are trying to cut their property assessments by more than $700 million across Wisconsin — potentially forcing other taxpayers to pay more to fund local public services, a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin...

Madeleine Behr, Doug Schneider and Haley BeMiller Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Mayor Fights for Fairness

Superior Mayor Jim Paine joined local leaders across Wisconsin to designate Dec. 11 as Dark Store Day. The goal was to call attention to legislation designed to close the "dark store loophole," property tax avoidance tactics that aren't available to. . .

Shelly Nelson, Superior Telegram Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Local leaders discuss big box tax implications

Provisions in a newly proposed bill could halt the "Dark Store Strategy" in which commercial property owners argue for the same lower tax assessment given to other stores in town that are vacant. At the heart of the issue: Should a big box store . . . .

Fox 11 News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

A Recent Court Ruling Shines New Light on the Dark Store Appraisal Theory

On Friday morning, October 20, at the Hotel Phillips in downtown Kansas City, word spread among those attending IAAO’s Fall Leadership Days that the Michigan Supreme Court had reached a much-anticipated decision on a big-box/dark store case.

Magazine Association of Assessing Officers Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Dark Store Day Shines Light on Corporate Loophole

Local municipal leaders supported by the Wisconsin League of Municipalities urged people to contact their state representatives on Monday, Dec. 11, Dark Store Day.
Dark Store Day was formed from a growing concern . . . .

Ben Rogers, The Press Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

City leaders gather in Ashwaubenon for "Dark Store Day"

It's a tax avoidance strategy by commercial retailers such as Menards, Walgreens, and CVS Who ask to pay property taxes equal to stores that are vacant or boarded up, when in reality, their stores are booming with business.

Jordan Lamers, Wearegreenbay.com Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

In Ashwaubenon, cities and villages demand legislature close dark-stores loophole

Local leaders from Oshkosh to Howard gathered in Brown County on Monday to demand state lawmakers change a law that they say shifts property tax burdens from chain retailers to homeowners and small businesses. . . .

Doug Schneider USA TODAY NETWORK Green Bay Gazette Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Dark Store Day: 19 mayors speak out against tax loophole that allows some big box retailers to pay l

Nineteen city and village mayors, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday, December 11th spoke out against so-called "dark store" practices. The mayors called it a tax loophole that allows big box retailers to pay millions less in taxes . . . .

Jonathon Gregg, Fox 6 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: December 11, 2017

Meijer tax appeal costs Merrillville $2.3M

Merrillville Town Council is tightening its purse strings after losing a tax appeal from Meijer totaling almost $2.3 million. "We'll see a salary ordinance with no raises because of this and we may have to lay some people off," Town Manager . . . .

Karen Caffarini, Chicago Post-Tribune Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: November 27, 2017

Big box, Small tax bill

Monona resident Peter McKeever wasn’t sure how many people would show up at the community meeting he co-organized to raise awareness about the so-called “dark store” tax loophole and the lawsuit that Walmart has filed against the city of Monona.

Allison Geyer Isthmus November 22, 2017 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: September 14, 2017

Lawmakers want to close ‘dark-store’ tax loophole

Local government officials are backing two GOP bills they say would protect them from undergoing costly legal challenges spurred by big-box stores looking to lower their property taxes. But others countered the two bills target one type of business. . .

WisPolitics.com Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 25, 2017

Baraboo joins tax fight against retailers

Baraboo is joining communities statewide in asking the state Legislature to close a tax loophole exploited by big-box retailers. On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to support a resolution asking for legislation to eliminate the “dark stores”

Ben Bromley Baraboo News Republic Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: August 21, 2017

Guest column: ‘Dark store’ loophole must be closed

There’s an issue citizens of the city of Monona and residents across the state of Wisconsin should be aware of, called the “dark store” loophole. Big box stores like Menards, Target and Walmart, to name a few, are successfully arguing in court that . . .

Andrew Kitslaar The Herald-Independent Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 21, 2017

Reilly supports bills against 'dark store' tax assessments

Says trend saves for big-box stores, increases tax burden on homeowners

Hannah Weikel Freeman Staf July 20, 2017f Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 21, 2017

States Forced to Address ‘Dark Store’ Valuation Theory

A growing list of states will revise their property tax codes to help municipalities cope with revenue losses attributable to big box retailers’ widespread use of the “dark store” theory of valuation to cut their assessments, according to . . .

Michael J. Bologna for Bloomberg BNA June 29, 2017 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: July 3, 2017

Wisconsin State Lawmakers Fight Back Against Dark Store Loophole

Madison - Republican lawmaker Robert Brooks introduced two assembly bills with the help of Duey Stroebel of Saukville and Roger Roth of Appleton, these bills aim to stop the dark store loophole, today the Assembly Committee of Ways and Means . . . .

Steven Dent We Are Green Bay June 29, 2017 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: June 28, 2017

How Big Box Stores Shift Their Property Taxes Onto Homeowners

Something called the “Dark Store Loophole” lets companies like Wal-Mart shift their property taxes to homeowners and small merchants.

This obscure [property tax dodge, which has been going on for more than two decades, has pitted Big Box retailers . . .

Al Norman HUFFPOST June 27, 2017 Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: June 22, 2017

City to state: Hurry up on 'dark store' legislation

The City of Sheboygan is throwing its support behind Wisconsin lawmakers’ efforts to pass “dark store” legislation that could affect how much state businesses pay in local property taxes.

McLean Bennett USA Today Network WI Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 18, 2017

Bills to Stop Big Retailers from Reducing their Property Tax Wins Wide Support

The Village of Pleasant Prairie, along with scores of other Wisconsin municipalities, have expressed their vehement support for two bills to be introduced Monday in the State Legislature to fight attempts by big box retailers to reduce their property tax.

By Long Hwa-shu for theYOUJournal Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 11, 2017

Wisconsin Expected to Tackle Dark Store Controvery

Wisconsin lawmakers will be asked to remedy two gaps in the property tax code that could shift much of the local tax burden from big box retailers such as Lowes Cos. Inc., Home Depot Inc. and . . .

April 6, 2017 Bloomberg BNA Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP Lawmakers Unveil Bills Targeting Big Box Stores

Big box stores in Wisconsin are being targeted in a pair of Republican-backed bills unveiled Wednesday at the state Capitol. The bills unveiled Wednesday set up a fight pitting retail giants like Target, Menards and Walgreens against Wisconsin . . .

By Shamane Mills and The Associated Press Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 4, 2017

Wisconsin lawmakers look to close ‘dark store’ loophole

Legislation being introduced at the Capitol could change the way major retailers have their property taxes assessed. The package of bills from Republican lawmakers would reverse a 2008 State Supreme Court ruling that changed . . . .

Andrew Beckett Wisconsin Radio Network Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP bills target 'dark store' big-box tax strategy based on Madison court ruling

May 4, 2017 Republican state lawmakers have unveiled a pair of bills they say would prevent owners of big-box retail stores from lowering their property tax bills while shifting local tax burdens to small businesses and homeowners.

Mark Sommerhauser Wisconsin State Journal Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: March 20, 2017

Big box stores gird for battle with Wisconsin cities

A battle pitting big-box retail giants including Menards and Wal-Mart against Wisconsin towns and cities is headed to the Legislature. Republican-backed proposals, written in conjunction with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, are designed to . . . .

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: March 20, 2017

Retailers' tax dodge shifts burden to homeowners

Recently I went to Madison as part of a delegation of Stevens Point elected officials for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ lobby day. At the top of the agenda: a tax dodge that major retailers are using to avoid paying their fair share . . . .

David Shorr, for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Boxed In

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A highly informative documentary film explaining the complex, yet devastating “Dark Store” tax loophole issue facing Wisconsin communities. This is a hot topic the League of Wisconsin Municipalities has been fighting for more than a ye...

Read on...

See the video on YouTube Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Retailers seek tax cuts with 'dark store' theory

Chiller Dark Store.png

By Rick Romell January 14, 2017Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Cities brood over 'dark store' tax lawsuits

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By Nate Beck December 26, 2016
Photo by Joe Sienkiewicz/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

USA Network-Wisconsin Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

How Big-Box Retailers Weaponize Old Stores

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Shannon Pettypiece December 8, 2016
Photo by Alamy

BloombergBusinessweek Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Brookfield sends message to combat big retail loopholes

By Geoff Bruce December 7, 2016
Photo by Geoff Bruce/New Media Group

Brookfield Elm Grove Now Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Dark store theory: The move big box retailers are making that could cost you big bucks

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By Brittany Shannon Fox 6 News December 4, 2016
Photo by Brittany Shannon

Fox 6 News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

West Bend asks governor, legislators to close tax loopholes

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By Ralph Chapoco November 2, 2016
Photo by John Ehlke/Daily News

Daily News Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Big-Box Stores Battle Local Governments Over Property Taxes

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BY Liz Farmer | SEPTEMBER 2016
Photo by Flickr/Brutal Social

Governing Dark Store Loop Hole
Posted on: January 27, 2017

Should Lowe's 'dark store' strategy in Texas concern D-FW taxpayers?

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Maria Halkas September 12, 2016
Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Dallas News Dark Store Loop Hole

News Flash

Home

4 Stories
Posted on: April 14, 2018

One-Stop Shop - Resources for New Officials

Welcome - Check out League Resources

Welcome to the League

Local government is not a spectator sport; thank you for being a part of your municipality’s leadership. City and village government depends upon citizens like you stepping up and offering your knowledge, common sense and point of vie...

Read on...

Resources for New Officials... Home
Posted on: November 14, 2017

Register Now! Five Local Govt 101 Workshops This Year!

local govt 101 Madison session rocks!

The League provides almost everyone in your municipality an opportunity to learn and network with peers.  Starting with the Building Inspectors Institute in April and ending with the Police and Fire Commission Workshop in November, the League's c...

Read on...

2018 Conferences, Workshops & Institutes (PDF) Home
Posted on: March 17, 2018

Jerry's "The Local Perspective" Blog

downtown baraboo sunny day

Read, follow and comment on "The Local Perspective."

Here's an excerpt from the first blog post:  

Welcome to the Local Perspective Blog. I’m Jerry Deschane, Executive Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. I was thinking tha...

Read, follow & comment...

Jerry's "The Local Perspective" Blog... Home
Posted on: January 10, 2018

#LocalGovMatters Podcast

LocalGovMatters Podcast logo 250 pixels

#LocalGovMatters will discuss city, village and county issues. Jerry Deschane, the League's Executive Director and Mark O'Connell, the Wisconsin Counties Association Executive Director are likely to be frequent guests along with experts on specific issues...

Read on...

Link to Wheeler Reports, Inc #LocalGovMatters... Home

News Flash

Posted on: June 5, 2017

The League and WCA's Joint Testimony on AB 277/SB 218

Liberty

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities (LWM) and the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) have vigorously opposed prior efforts to repeal Wisconsin’s personal property tax. The opposition to prior efforts was due to lack of a plan to reimburse local. . .

May 24, 2017 Curt Witynski and Kyle Christianson League Legislative Communications
Posted on: May 31, 2017

League Testimony on AB 348

Wisconsin State Capitol Justice Mural, Kenyan Cox

May 30, 2017 CURT WITYNSKI: I'm testifying this afternoon for information purposes only on AB 348. The bill contains changes to state law that we like, but also contains limitations on municipal authority about which we have concerns.

To Assembly Committee on Jobs & the Economy League Legislative Communications
Posted on: April 17, 2017

SB 94

w wash view

Making a technical change to the process by which a mayor is to inform council members that a special meeting has been called.

Additional Info... League Legislative Communications
Posted on: March 9, 2017

SB 48

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Allowing Financial Assistance Programs for Replacement of Lead Service Laterals

Additional Info... League Legislative Communications
Posted on: March 9, 2017

AB 70

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Allowing Municipalities to Publish Meeting Minutes on the Municipality’s Web Site in lieu of the Official Newspaper

Additional Info... League Legislative Communications

News Flash

Posted on: March 14, 2018

Municipal Regulation of "Click and Collect" Alcohol Sales

“Click and Collect” describes a practice where consumers order online from a retailer’s website and then pick up their orders at a local store. The use of Click and Collect . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality March 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

An Overview of Municipal Library Board

his article revises and updates an article written and published in the February 2014 issue of The Municipality. Wisconsin’s libraries are a tremendous resource, important to the democratic process, and play a critical role . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality February 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

Legislature Curtails Municipal Conditional Use Permit Authority

The Wisconsin legislature enacted major changes to local zoning authority laws in 2017 that were urged and promoted by developers but described by its legislative supporters as a “homeowners” bill of rights. Nonetheless, the laws passed. . . .

Daniel Olson the Municipality February 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

Public Records Law Application to Individual Local Officials

Most public records requests are handled by municipal clerks, treasurers, administrators, or department heads, and involve records that are routinely created or kept by municipalities in the normal course of business.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality January 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Agenda Control and Presiding Officers

Although agendas are not required
by any state law, many governmental bodies, by custom or procedural rule, use them. They serve important practical purposes by providing a structure that facilitates efficient and effective use of meeting time . . . .

Daniel Olson December 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Items in the State Budget Affecting Municipalities

After nearly three months of legislative delay, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2018 state budget bill into law
as Act 59 on September 21. Like all state budgets, Act 59 is a mixed bag for municipalities, although positive changes slightly . . . .

Curt Witynski in the Municipality November 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

When is a Street a Street?

When is a street a street? Although the question posed by this title may sound like a riddle or the lead-in to a joke, being unable to answer that question is no laughing matter when the outcome is important to those with a stake in the issue.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality November 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Is Your Website Accessible to People with Disabilities?

Local governments are increasingly finding that municipal websites are a cost-effective and efficient way to make information available to the public
24-7 without the direct assistance of government personnel. Not surprisingly . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality October 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

When are Committees "Governmental Bodies" Under the Open Meeting Law?

In State ex rel. Krueger v. Appleton Area School Dist. Bd. Of Educ., 2017 WI 70, the Wisconsin Supreme Court attempted to clarify when a committee constitutes a "governmental body" for purposes of the open meeting law after Krueger, a parent . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality October 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Municipal Case Law Update (Part 2)

This is part 2 of a case law update summarizing cases decided within the last year that affect municipalities but not including U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Part 1 was published in the August issue of The Municipality.

Claire Silverman and Daniel Olson, Sept 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Wisconsin Takings Case

The U.S. Supreme Court decided a major regulatory takings case last week, ending a Wisconsin land-use battle that lasted more than a dozen years. See Murr v. Wisconsin, No. 15-214 (U.S. June 23, 2017). It is not common for
a case to jump . . . .

Jeffrey A. Mandell, the Municipality August 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

Municipal Case Law Update (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 2-part case law update summarizing Wisconsin appellate and 7th circuit decisions affecting Wisconsin municipalities.

Claire Silverman and Daniel Olson, Aug 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

Court Rejects Substantial Zoning and Planning Law Changes

The City of Fitchburg (City) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities
(League) recently won an important Wisconsin Supreme Court case for local government control over municipal zoning, planning, and development.

Daniel Olson, the Municipality July 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: May 22, 2017

Parliamentary Procedure for Local Officials

It is a pretty good guess that most Wisconsin city councils, village boards and their sub-units utilize Robert's Rules of Order as the rules of procedure for their respective body even though no state law requires they be utilized. . . .

Daniel Olson the Municipality June 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: May 22, 2017

Municipal Authority Over Real Property Inspections and Registrations Recently Limited

Many municipalities have property registration and inspection ordinances to ehlp ensure that they have important information regarding buildings within the municipality . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality April 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 8, 2017

Wisconsin Park Boards: Roles, Responsibilities & Rulemaking

The spotlight and attention in Wisconsin city and village government is most often focused on city councils, village boards, planning commissions, community development authorities, and similar governmental bodies with the legal authority . . . .

by Daniel Olson March 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

When must body provide notice under open meeting law that its members are attending other meetings?

League attorneys have received many questions about correspondence sent from the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office of Open Government to Winnebago County relating to whether it is necessary to provide notice under the open meetings. . . .

by Claire Silverman February 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

Dealing with Common Winter Issues

In a 1984 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, former Justice Louis Ceci penned, “Snow is ubiquitous in the state of Wisconsin during the winter months…”1 Although snow does not seem to be quite as “ubiquitous” in Wisconsin during the winter months . . . .

by Claire Silverman January 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

Social Host Ordinances Should be Reviewed

In recent years, many municipalities have enacted social host ordinances aimed at preventing adults from hosting underage drinking parties at private homes. Certain provisions in those ordinances are likely unenforceable. . .

by Claire Silverman January 2017 Legal Articles

News Flash

Posted on: April 6, 2018

Democratic legislators committed to closing ‘dark store loophole’

State Rep. Jimmy Anderson and other Democratic legislators are assuring Dane County Board members and other local officials of their commitment to legislation that would close the “dark store loophole” used by big box retailers to lower their tax. . .

The Herald Independent April 4, 2018 LWM in the News
Posted on: March 16, 2018

Bill would save municipalities money

A bill co-authored by 25th Dist. State Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, would allow municipal officials to serve as election officials. The bill has passed both houses of the Legislature and awaits Gov. Scott Walker’s signature.

Bob Zientara, Barron News-Shield LWM in the News
Posted on: March 8, 2018

Homeowner's tax assessment will drop $800000 after court deems backyard trees agriculture

Plant the right kinds of trees in your backyard and you could save oodles on your property tax bill, after the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in favor of a Town of Delafield resident.

Bruce Vielmetti, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel LWM in the News
Posted on: February 26, 2018

Walters: Push to expand Abele’s powers dies

A Capitol push to dramatically increase the powers of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, and allow local government leaders to switch to biennial budgets, is now opposed by other county and local officials.

Steven Walters for GazetteXtra LWM in the News
Posted on: February 22, 2018

Is a Last-Minute Bill to Help Developers that’s Being Jammed through the Legislature Going to Create

At first glance, Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 770 (AB 770) looks to be a standard piece of Republican-sponsored legislation meant to clear away regulations on new housing projects. The legislation reads almost like a developer’s wish list.

Dan Shaw, Shepherd Express LWM in the News
Posted on: February 22, 2018

WalMart Wants Tax Refund Due to "Dark Store Theory"

Wal-mart is contesting the property assessment of its Minocqua store, contending the property is worth much less and thus it’s due a refund of thousands of dollars it paid in property taxes.

Dean S. Acheson, WXPR Radio LWM in the News
Posted on: February 19, 2018

City takes on 'dark store' tax strategy

MENOMONIE — The City Council may take action Monday on a resolution that would ask the state Legislature to act on ending “dark store” strategies in the city and state.

As defined by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, “dark store theory” is . . . .

Ben Rueter Leader-Telegram LWM in the News
Posted on: February 6, 2018

Ballot is crowded as seven make bid for mayoral seat in Kaukauna

A newspaper editor, a school board member, a small business owner, three aldermen and a citizen feuding with City Hall all walked into the local union hall on Monday night. All came in with the same goal: to convince voters they're the best candidate. . .

Madeleine Behr , USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin LWM in the News
Posted on: February 6, 2018

Parks panel votes to borrow $25K for Hodag Park project

In a show of good faith, the city of Rhinelander parks, buildings and grounds committee voted Monday to earmark a $25,000 chunk of the city's next capital borrowing budget for improvements at Hodag Park. The funds would be combined with money raised . . .

Jamie Taylor, River News Reporter LWM in the News
Posted on: February 6, 2018

Green Bay Looks to Hire Someone to Address Rat Problem

Workers with the City of Green Bay are hearing a lot of complaints about rats on the west side of town. Another hire is needed to address the growing rodent problem, says Bill Paape, the city's neighborhood development manager. . . .

Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio LWM in the News
Posted on: February 6, 2018

Sauk City begins wheel tax discussions

Communities across Wisconsin have been struggling to fund much needed infrastructure repair as state lawmakers allocate less and less of the state budget for roads, according to the state DOT. This has led many small communities to . . . .

Autumn Luedke, Sauk City Eagle LWM in the News
Posted on: January 24, 2018

Domestic abuse advocates concerned bill favors landlord rights over those of tenants

As a new landlord-tenant bill aimed at decreasing costs for landlords makes its way through the Wisconsin Legislature, advocates for domestic abuse victims are concerned with many of the bill’s provisions.

Haley Cleghorn, The Badger Herald LWM in the News
Posted on: January 17, 2018

Legislation to Allow Municipal Officials to Serve as Election Officials Passes State Assembley

Today, the State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 85, authored by Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), Representative Ed Brooks (R- Reedsburg), and Senator Janet Bewley (D-Ashland), to allow municipal officials to serve as election officials.

State Rep. Lisa Subeck Urban Milwaukee LWM in the News
Posted on: January 11, 2018

Wisconsin Mulls Limiting Pro-Worker Local Ordinances

Business and labor clashed Wednesday over a Republican bill that would prevent local governments in Wisconsin from enacting a variety of ordinances pertaining to employment matters, including limits on working hours, overtime, benefits, and . . .

Scott Bauer, Beloit Daily News LWM in the News
Posted on: January 8, 2018

Portage Historic Preservation panel faces participation challenges

Erin Foley says she’s history. Doug Klapper, chairman of the city of Portage’s Historic Preservation Commission, says he’ll believe it when he sees a resignation letter from Foley, who says she’s been on the commission since 2008.

Lyn Jerde, Portage Daily Register LWM in the News
Posted on: January 2, 2018

Top 10: State law signed on eminent domain proceedings

It’s been a long fight for Bay City resident David Meixner, and he is tired. But he refuses to give up in the battle to save what he says is his land from eminent domain proceedings.

Sarah Nigbor, Pierce County Herald LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Dark store 'loophole' could be on the way out in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin tax loophole exploited by big box stores could soon be closed if two newly introduced bills get passed into law. Senate Bills 291 and 292 would change the way properties are assessed to prevent businesses from being assessed . . . .

Dominic Lynch, Watchdog.org LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Republican Lawmakers favor Municipal Power Restriction

If the Republican lawmakers of Wisconsin have their way, municipalities in the state could lose all their regulatory power, like the ability to conduct systematic building inspections. These possible new bills are being sponsored by. . .

Danny Abramov, Financial Buzz LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Wisconsin roundup: Group says proposed change would protect bad landlords

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities opposes plans by Republican state lawmakers to limit the regulatory powers of city governments. The Senate Committee on Insurance, Housing and Trade held a hearing at the Capitol Wednesday. The change would end. . .

River Falls Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Senate committee hears testimony on GOP bills that would change tenant-landlord relationship, limit

While sponsors of Republican legislation argue it would promote affordable housing and create a fair rental housing market, others say it would tilt power more toward landlords and limit municipal powers.

Abigal Becker, The Cap Times LWM in the News
Posted on: December 15, 2017

Wisconsin 'dark store' cases threaten to hike your property taxes

Appleton Post-Crescent -- Large chain-store retailers are trying to cut their property assessments by more than $700 million across Wisconsin — potentially forcing other taxpayers to pay more to fund local public services, a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin...

Madeleine Behr, Doug Schneider and Haley BeMiller LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Dark Store Day Shines Light on Corporate Loophole

Local municipal leaders supported by the Wisconsin League of Municipalities urged people to contact their state representatives on Monday, Dec. 11, Dark Store Day.
Dark Store Day was formed from a growing concern . . . .

Ben Rogers, The Press LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

City leaders gather in Ashwaubenon for "dark store day"

Mayors and village presidents from Brown County and the Fox Valley gathered for "Dark Store Day," a day created to raise awareness to the dark store loophole.
It's a tax avoidance strategy by commercial retailers such as Menards, Walgreens, and CVS . . .

Jordan Lamers, Wearegreenbay.com LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

In Ashwaubenon, cities and villages demand legislature close dark-stores loophole

Local leaders from Oshkosh to Howard gathered in Brown County on Monday to demand state lawmakers change a law that they say shifts property tax burdens from chain retailers to homeowners and small businesses.

Doug Schneider USA TODAY NETWORK Green Bay Gazette LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Dark Store Day: 19 mayors speak out against tax loophole that allows some big box retailers to pay l

Nineteen city and village mayors, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday, December 11th spoke out against so-called "dark store" practices. The mayors called it a tax loophole that allows big box retailers to pay millions less in taxes . . . .

Jonathon Gregg, Fox 6 LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

Village Board reschedules vote on Foxconn bills

It may be a case of semantics, but the Village of Mount Pleasant is playing it safe when it comes to paying the bills related to the Foxconn Technology Group development project. On Dec. 4, the village’s Finance/Legal/License Committee recommended . . .

Ricardo Torres, The Journal Times LWM in the News
Posted on: December 13, 2017

State GOP lawmakers seek to limit municipal powers

State Republican lawmakers want to further limit the regulatory powers of Madison and other municipalities, including the ability to do systematic building inspections.
Two bills sponsored by Sen. Frank Lasee, R-DePere, and Rep. Rob Brooks . . . .

Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: December 11, 2017

Eau Claire lawsuit over development subsidies takes on statewide impact, draws in Milwaukee, Foxconn

A lawsuit pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court involves a project in downtown Eau Claire, and its outcome will either reinforce or wipe out local governments’ main tool for financing large developments, including Foxconn Technology Group’s plant.

Sean Ryan, Milwaukee Business Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: December 11, 2017

In stagnant Wisconsin communities, rising public service costs could be problematic

Wisconsin municipalities know all too well what it means to do more with less, and they have for about the last decade. It all has to do with property tax levy limits.

Emilie Heidemann, Lodi Enterprise LWM in the News
Posted on: November 13, 2017

Noise survey circulated to Beaver Dam police, taverns and council members

City Attorney Maryann Schacht is looking for input from the police department, city council members and city taverns about possible changes to city noise regulations.
Schacht said a survey sent to tavern owners and city officials . . .

Ben Rueter for Daily Citizen November 11, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: October 31, 2017

Wisconsin Senate To Vote On Bill To Remove Lead Water Pipes

The Wisconsin state Senate will vote Tuesday on a plan that could help remove lead water pipes running underground in communities throughout Wisconsin.
There are at least 176,000 lead service lines that connect public water mains to Wisconsin homes. . .

Shawn Johnson for WPR News LWM in the News
Posted on: October 30, 2017

Council to examine duties of mayor

With a mayoral election in the offing, the Rhinelander City Council took some time this week to discuss how the position has changed since the city administrator position was added to the government's structure.

Jamie Taylor, River News Reporter LWM in the News
Posted on: October 30, 2017

Appleton named 48th best city to live in

The league of Wisconsin Municipalities Conference is in Appleton this week. A league made up of 601 cities and villages. "We often look to Appleton as an example of good strategic planning,” Gail Sumi, League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

ABC 2 WBAY.com LWM in the News
Posted on: September 25, 2017

NW Passage's Elliott to receive arts award

Northwest Passage and its Director Mark Elliot will be honored as a recipient of the “Arts In The Community Award” Oct. 19 in Appleton. Elliott has led Northwest Passage since 2000. The residential facility on Old Hwy. 35 between Siren and Webster . . .

Sept 22 Burnett County Sentinel LWM in the News
Posted on: September 21, 2017

Gov. Scott Walker vetoes quarry regulation restriction, says policy deserves full debate

Gov. Scott Walker has vetoed a last-minute provision in the state budget that would have stripped local governments of the right to regulate quarries.
Walker is scheduled to sign the $76 billion two-year spending package Thursday . . . .

Chris Hubbuch, La Crosse Tribune LWM in the News
Posted on: August 29, 2017

Baraboo joins tax fight against retailers

Baraboo is joining communities statewide in asking the state Legislature to close a tax loophole exploited by big-box retailers. On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to support a resolution asking for legislation to eliminate the “dark stores”

Ben Bromley Baraboo News Republic LWM in the News
Posted on: August 21, 2017

Municipalities, Roads Feeling Effects of Budget Squeeze

Sturgeon Bay’s streets have deteriorated so badly that the city has convened a special committee to investigate funding solutions to improve them, but streets will get worse before they get better.

Myles Dannhausen, Jr. Door County Pulse LWM in the News
Posted on: August 21, 2017

Local Governments Could Have Less Discretion When Issuing Some Permits

Local governments would have less discretion to deny permits for things like frac sand mines under legislation being marketed as a "homeowner bill of rights."

Rich Kremer Wisconsin Public Radio LWM in the News
Posted on: July 31, 2017

Bartender License Application Revised

The city is implementing a new application process that officials say provides ways to make more accurate final decisions to approve or deny a bartender's license.

Beloit Daily News, July 27, 2017 ... LWM in the News
Posted on: July 25, 2017

Arts award nominees sought

Arts Wisconsin is seeking nominations for the 2017 Arts in the Community Awards presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. The awards honor communities and civic leaders around the state for championing the arts . . .

The Country Today July 24, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: July 21, 2017

Wisconsin GOP moves to relax property regulations

Two Republican legislators introduced bills Thursday that would make it easier for people to sell and develop their land and for sand mine companies to win local permits. Local government groups blasted the bill as an attack . . .

Todd Richmond Associated Press LWM in the News
Posted on: July 18, 2017

Will Court Ruling Help Rich Homeowners?

Homes make up 72 percent of all real property in Wisconsin. Homeowners will pay more than two-thirds of the $9.6 billion in net property taxes that state and local governments will collect this year. The state Constitution requires a “uniform” tax system.

Steven Walters for Urban Milwaukee July 17, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: July 11, 2017

Sun Prairie's Astrella featured on League TV show

The June guest on the League of Wisconsin Municipalities' “The Local Perspective” is President of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association, Deputy Clerk/Treasurer for the village of Summit and Sun Prairie resident Chris Astrella.

Chris Mertes, The Star LWM in the News
Posted on: July 6, 2017

Ephraim Trustees Embattled Over Sidewalks, Pedestrian Safety

Tensions are rising between Ephraim village trustees as the deadline for the village to submit changes to the upcoming highway resurface plan looms. Trustees clashed over the cost, moral responsibility and legal liability of constructing sidewalks . . .

Jackson Parr Peninsula Plus June 30, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: June 30, 2017

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules for Open Meetings Advocates

The Wisconsin Supreme Court sided with open meetings advocates Thursday in a case involving the Appleton Area School District. . .

Laurel White Wisconsin Public Radio June 29, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: June 28, 2017

How Big Box Stores Shift Their Property Taxes Onto Homeowners

Something called the “Dark Store Loophole” lets companies like Wal-Mart shift their property taxes to homeowners and small merchants.
This obscure [property tax dodge, which has been going on for more than two decades, has pitted Big Box retailers . . .

Al Norman HUFFPOST June 27, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: May 16, 2017

Alderman Johnson Represents Milwaukee at Local Government Day

Cavalier Johnson, Alderman of the 2nd District, joined local government officials and staff from across the state for the First Annual Local Government and Utility Day on May 10 in Madison. City and village officials, as well as municipal . . .

Milwaukee Independent May 15, 2017 LWM in the News
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP Lawmakers Unveil Bills Targeting Big Box Stores

Big box stores in Wisconsin are being targeted in a pair of Republican-backed bills unveiled Wednesday at the state Capitol. The bills unveiled Wednesday set up a fight pitting retail giants like Target, Menards and Walgreens against Wisconsin . . .

By Shamane Mills and The Associated Press LWM in the News
Posted on: May 4, 2017

Wisconsin lawmakers look to close ‘dark store’ loophole

Legislation being introduced at the Capitol could change the way major retailers have their property taxes assessed. The package of bills from Republican lawmakers would reverse a 2008 State Supreme Court ruling that changed . . . .

Andrew Beckett Wisconsin Radio Network LWM in the News
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP bills target 'dark store' big-box tax strategy based on Madison court ruling

May 4, 2017 Republican state lawmakers have unveiled a pair of bills they say would prevent owners of big-box retail stores from lowering their property tax bills while shifting local tax burdens to small businesses and homeowners.

Mark Sommerhauser Wisconsin State Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: April 25, 2017

Wisconsin business lobby fights funding plan to remove lead from drinking water

April 19, 2017 Wisconsin’s business lobby spoke out publicly Tuesday against a bipartisan legislative proposal to replace thousands of underground pipes that leach toxic lead into drinking water.

Steven Verburg Wisconsin State Journal LWM in the News
Posted on: April 17, 2017

Groups soliciting nominations

April 14, 2017 The Wisconsin Economic Development Association along with award partners--the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the Wisconsin Counties Association and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are soliciting nominations . . . .

Jennifer McBride La Crosse Tribune LWM in the News
Posted on: April 11, 2017

Transportation Shakeup Leaves Local Governments Wondering What's Next

April 10, 2017 The decision by state lawmakers to set aside Gov. Scott Walker's transportation budget has left county, city and town government leaders wondering what's next, especially since they would have been among the biggest winners . . . .

Shawn Johnson for WPR News LWM in the News
Posted on: April 26, 2017

Health Alliance Brings Together Statewide Partners

Across Wisconsin, opportunities to live a long, healthy life are not shared equally by all. Many of Wisconsin’s health outcomes lag behind national averages, and the state is home to some of the most extreme health disparities in the nation.

UW School of Medicine and Public Health LWM in the News
Posted on: March 28, 2017

Wisconsin lawmakers target adults who host underage drinkers

Adults who let teenagers drink in their homes would be breaking the law under a proposal two Republican Wisconsin lawmakers are circulating. The bill would address what Rep. Andre Jacque and Sen. Van Wanggaard call the "social host" loophole . . . .

CARA LOMBARDO Associated Press LWM in the News
Posted on: March 30, 2017

WHEDA and League of Wisconsin Municipalities launch new partnership

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities (the League) are joining together in a new partnership designed to help municipalities learn more about and gain access to WHEDA financing tools.

WHEDA LWM in the News
Posted on: March 24, 2017

States Challenge Retailers on Dark Store Loophole for Tax Assessments

When it comes to negotiating fair property values, commercial real estate professionals and state officials have generally managed the process by knowing when to compromise and when to push back forcefully. . . .

Donna Mitchell for National Real Estate Investor LWM in the News

News Flash

Posted on: May 9, 2017

State's Business Lobby Blocking Efforts to Remove Lead from Water

The business lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) agrees that lead is dangerous to human health, particularly children's, and that lead water pipes serving family homes in municipalities across the state should be replaced. WMC . . .

Curt Witynski Editorial in the Cap Times LWM Opinion Editorials

News Flash

Posted on: October 30, 2017

Statement on Michigan Supreme Court Striking Down Dark Store Tax Avoidance Strategy

Last week the Michigan Supreme Court denied an appeal from big box retailer Menard Inc., effectively ending the so-called “dark store” practice of property valuation in that state. The Michigan Supreme Court denied Menard Inc.’s request

Jerry Deschane, League Executive Director Press Releases
Posted on: May 9, 2017

Celebrate Creative Economy Week Throughout Wisconsin, May 13-20

Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are partnering to celebrate the second annual Creative Economy Week, May 13-20, a week-long celebration of the power, impact and benefits of the arts, creativity and culture in Wisconsin . . .

View the complete press release Press Releases

News Flash

Posted on: March 23, 2017

Best practices program for Madison landlords on its way to City Council

Madison used to have a number of ordinances guiding landlord behavior, but over the past six years, the state Legislature nullified many of them. Now, a landlord “best practices” program aiming to reinforce the policies in those ordinances . . .

Lisa Speckhard for The Capital Times 3/22/2017 Rental Inspection News

News Flash

News Flash

Posted on: July 21, 2017

States Forced to Address ‘Dark Store’ Valuation Theory

A growing list of states will revise their property tax codes to help municipalities cope with revenue losses attributable to big box retailers’ widespread use of the “dark store” theory of valuation to cut their assessments, according to . . .

Michael J. Bologna for Bloomberg BNA June 29, 2017 Walgreens Decision
Posted on: May 4, 2017

Wisconsin lawmakers look to close ‘dark store’ loophole

Legislation being introduced at the Capitol could change the way major retailers have their property taxes assessed.

The package of bills from Republican lawmakers would reverse a 2008 State Supreme Court ruling that changed . . .

Andrew Beckett Wisconsin Radio Network Walgreens Decision
Posted on: May 4, 2017

GOP bills target 'dark store' big-box tax strategy based on Madison court ruling

May 4, 2017 Republican state lawmakers have unveiled a pair of bills they say would prevent owners of big-box retail stores from lowering their property tax bills while shifting local tax burdens to small businesses and homeowners.

Mark Sommerhauser Wisconsin State Journal Walgreens Decision
Posted on: April 21, 2017

Walgreens loses tax lawsuit that could have cost Kentucky schools millions

The Kentucky Supreme Court declined this month to hear an appeal brought by Walgreens Co., presumably ending a longstanding legal battle between the pharmacy chain and Fayette County officials that threatened to strip hundreds of millions of dollars . . .

Valarie Honeycutt Spears Lexington Herald Leader Walgreens Decision
Posted on: March 20, 2017

Big box stores gird for battle with Wisconsin cities

A battle pitting big-box retail giants including Menards and Wal-Mart against Wisconsin towns and cities is headed to the Legislature. Republican-backed proposals, written in conjunction with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, are designed to. . .

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press Walgreens Decision
Posted on: March 20, 2017

Retailers' tax dodge shifts burden to homeowners

Recently I went to Madison as part of a delegation of Stevens Point elected officials for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ lobby day. At the top of the agenda: a tax dodge that major retailers are using to avoid paying their fair share . . . .

David Shorr, for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Walgreens Decision