State Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville, called on Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, to act on a proposal last week that would close the so-called “dark store loophole.”

Under current state law, big-box retailers can appeal their property tax assessments, arguing municipalities should assess their operational stores as vacant buildings of similar size. Gov. Tony Evers has said he will propose a way to eliminate the practice in his 2019 state budget.

Loudenbeck is the vice chair of the state Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee, which will review Evers’ state budget before the Legislature votes on it.

Ringhand said she hopes Loudenbeck and Republican leaders “will join the bipartisan effort to end this corporate rip-off of homeowners once and for all.”

In a statement to The Gazette, Loudenbeck would not commit to backing Evers’ proposal.

“The Dark Store issue is very complex and includes constitutional issues because of Wisconsin’s uniformity clause,” Loudenbeck said. “I would want to wait to see the specific details of his (Evers’) plan before making any comments or decisions.”

Advisory referendums asking if the loophole should be closed passed by big margins in Rock and Walworth counties Nov. 6.

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