State Rep. supports ‘dark store’ legislation

LANSING — Representative Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain today announced he supports bipartisan legislation that would help Upper Peninsula communities and small businesses by eliminating a loophole large retailers have used to drastically reduce their tax bills.

LaFave co-sponsored recently introduced legislation designed to ensure the tax assessment process is fair for small businesses and local communities. The bill would prevent a practice that has allowed large retailers to win assessment disputes by claiming that sales of older, vacant buildings should be considered when determining the value of brand new store properties.

In some cases, this “dark store” loophole has brought the assessed value for the entire property – a brand new building and the land on which it was built – to less than the cost of the land alone.

“The current system is unfair to small retailers who compete against big box stores,” LaFave said. “Upper Peninsula communities are being denied tax revenue that should be collected to improve public services. It’s time we made this system fair and sensible again.”