Big box stores gird for battle with Wisconsin cities over dark store loophole

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - 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 are designed to close the so-called dark store loophole and increase how much the mega-retailers pay local communities in property taxes.

The bills are in reaction to court rulings in Wisconsin and nearby Midwestern states that have helped the retail giants lower the value placed on their stores for levying property taxes.

The retailers have successfully argued they should be assessed at the same rate as a store that is closed and vacant.

The Wisconsin League of Municipalities is leading the charge to change the law.

The retail stores argue it makes no sense to assess property based on its potential lease value.

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