How Abandoned Big-Box Stores Can Bring Communities Together

I’ve blogged extensively about the ongoing debate about the so-called “Dark Store Loophole.” There will be attempts to kill this so-called loophole in the current legislative session in Madison. I’ve made it clear in my blogs I oppose such legislation.

That’s more than I can say for the proponents of the legislation (my mayor for one of dozens). At least I’ve been fair on this blog and have presented both sides unlike those (my mayor and dozens of others) who push for killing the so-called (I say so-called because I question the loophole nomenclature) loophole who have engaged in blatant one-sided propaganda.

At the risk of complicating this issue I go on by stating several groups representing cities, towns and counties have launched, AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE, a campaign to push lawmakers to close the state’s so-called “dark store loophole.”

The Wisconsin League of Municipalities, Wisconsin Counties Association and Wisconsin Towns Association have done so because they contend big box stores are employing strategies to avoid paying higher taxes under current law.

Large retailers argue their property tax assessments should include the values of similar vacant or “dark” stores. But local government advocates say that reasoning doesn’t make sense.

“That would be like me assessing your house as if it were foreclosed, abandoned and boarded up. These are active, growing, thriving businesses on busy street corners in downtown Wisconsin,” said Jerry Deschane, executive director with the Wisconsin League of Municipalities. “They’re being valued at what they’re actually worth, not what theoretically they would be worth if they were vacant.”

I’ve more than taken that nonsense to task in my blog. Just search for Dark Store to see it all.


Take it easy.


What follows is not another salvo in the loophole debate.

Everybody’s arguing and bitching and moaning about empty commercial space in this debate.

But what if that derelict commercial space could be turned into an overall community positive rather than a negative?

Granted, that would require thinking beyond one’s nose, along with eliminating the constant parade of posing for holy pictures of local elected officials, including my mayor Steve (Franklin is never ever wrong and don’t you forget it) Olson.

The positive aspect I mentioned has been done. It can and does happen when people work together on productive ideas.

Please read.

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