Kivela co-sponsors new ‘Dark Store’ legislation

LANSING — State Representative John Kivela announced that he is co-sponsoring a new piece of legislation to combat the dark stores issue.

The House Bill was introduced by State Representative Dave Maturen (R-Vicksburg) and would effectively close the tax loophole by requiring the Michigan Tax Tribunal to make its own independent determination when making decisions on commercial property dispute cases.

The legislation stems from cases in which Big-box stores, like Menards, successfully argued that the value of their store should be compared to the value of closed and vacant stores, leading to huge tax refunds for them. This phenomenon not only decreases the property tax base in the state, but also devastates state and local government budgets.

Kivela co-sponsored the same bill last year. Though it passed by a vote of 97-11, it was never taken up by the senate. This new legislation was introduced at the annual Michigan Municipal League Conference in Lansing on Tuesday.