Monday in Whitewater will see afternoon showers with a high of 44. Sunrise is 6:43 AM and sunset 5:33 PM for 10h 50m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 0.2% of its visible disk illuminated.
Several local officials will be part of a tour of the Whitewater Aquatic & Fitness Center at 5 PM.
On this day in 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Massachusetts’s mandatory smallpox vaccination program in Jacobson v. Massachusetts.
Henry Leonard reports Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Against “Dark Store Loophole” (‘With no dissent, court rules against big-box retailers’ tax reduction strategy’):
The decision strikes a blow to the use of so-called “dark store” tax theory that has become common in Wisconsin and across the country. The method involves comparing the value of an operating big box retail store to long vacant, or “dark,” stores nearby. Pushed by big box retailers such as Lowe’s, Menards and Walmart — with the support of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby — dark store theory has been criticized by local officials and the public because it can take revenue away from municipalities and cause the property taxes on residents’ homes to increase.
In Lowe’s v. Delavan, the hardware store was challenging city assessments of its property in 2016 and 2017. The store, located in a “thriving retail area,” according to the city, was assessed at $8,922,300 in both years by Delavan’s assessor. The outside assessor Lowe’s hired valued the property at $4,600,000, nearly 50% less than the city’s value. An outside assessor hired by the city valued the property even higher than the city’s original assessment at $9,200,000.
The store appealed the assessment at the local board of review and then filed a lawsuit in Walworth County Circuit Court. The circuit court sided with the city, so Lowe’s appealed the decision. The appeals court also sided with the city, so Lowe’s appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
At issue in the lawsuit were the stores used by each assessor to come up with the market value. When a store hasn’t been sold recently, which in this case hadn’t happened because the property had operated as a Lowe’s since it was constructed in 2005, assessors find comparable stores in the area to come up with a value.
The assessor hired by Lowe’s had almost entirely used stores that were “dark,” vacant or considered distressed.