Legislators introduce Tax Tribunal bill

LANSING – State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) today thanked Republican state Rep. David Maturen (R-Vicksburg) for introducing House Bill 5578, which would require the Michigan Tax Tribunal to make its own independent determination when issuing a decision in a dark store case. Maturen led a workgroup on the dark store issue. Kivela was the only Upper Peninsula member of the workgroup.

“I want to thank Rep. Maturen for introducing HB 5578, while also thanking all of those who participated alongside me in the workgroup which helped lead to the development of this legislation,” said Kivela. “This bill creates a level playing field for local governments when arguing cases at the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Big-box stores have been exploiting a misguided system for years, costing our local units of government millions and allowing these national stores to avoid paying their fair share.  HB 5578 will help protect our communities from these dark stores rulings by bringing fairness back to the Michigan Tax Tribunal process.”

Big-box stores have successfully argued to the Michigan Tax Tribunal that their taxes should be drastically reduced by using what’s known as the ‘dark store’ argument. The stores argue that their store can’t possibly be used by another big store, so it is worth less than what it cost to build and they should pay less taxes on it.  This argument allows them to win huge tax refunds that decrease the property tax base in Michigan and is devastating to state and local government budgets.

“Fixing the dark store problem has been a priority of mine since I came to Lansing, and I am very pleased to see this bill come out of our workgroup,” said Kivela. “This is a huge step in the right direction, and I hope that Rep. Maturen’s bill moves quickly through the Legislature and is signed into law by the governor.”

(Information Courtesy of the Michigan House Democrats/John Kivela)