State lawmakers and local government officials are taking aim at a tax loophole that allows big box retailers to significantly reduce their property taxes. The loophole allows them to base their property values on the value of stores that have been shut down and are difficult to sell.
State Representative John Kivela is a Democrat from Marquette. He says it’s a big hit to revenue for public safety, libraries, and schools. And he says it shifts more of the burden to residential taxpayers and small businesses.
“What does it mean in my community? It means Willie’s Tire Shop pays a little more where the big WalMart store across the street – that still sells Goodyear tires and competes with him – gets by paying considerably less.”
The large retailers say they pay their fair share of local taxes.
There is also a legal challenge to the so-called “dark stores” loophole before the Michigan Supreme Court.