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View from around the state: Misplaced frustration over property taxes

Whether filing for taxes as an individual or business, you are entitled to take any deduction for which you qualify. If you feel your property-tax assessment is inaccurate, you can challenge it.

A recent story in the Leader-Telegram quoted the Eau Claire finance director, Jay Winzenz, as saying, “This is the same thing they are doing all over the state … the same cast of characters,” noting certain owners of retail property are trying to reduce their property-tax bills using loopholes, ultimately shifting the tax burden to other taxpayers.

That’s quite a mouthful of misplaced frustration. The truth is, it would be hard to find any business owner who wouldn’t take advantage of every opportunity to reduce his tax burden. It’s also fair to say that a business, by reducing its tax burden, is able to reduce the need to raise prices.

Real frustration should be directed at the state level, where Republicans have refused to allow a vote on closing the so-called dark-store tax loophole. Until such a vote is allowed, we won’t know the results, and until the issue is resolved by state legislators, frustration will mount locally.

Whom should we be frustrated with? Is it the big retailers that employ thousands of Wisconsin residents and provide excellent shopping experiences and reasonable pricing? Or is it the elected officials who continue to refuse to hold a vote on the dark-store loophole?

According to The Associated Press, in the November election, voters in 23 Wisconsin jurisdictions backed advisory referendums on a proposal calling for the dark-store loophole to be closed. With those results in hand, legislators should at least bring elimination to a vote and put an end to this controversy.

Until then, it would be good for local governments to consider reducing their expenses rather than passing any additional tax burden onto homeowners or small business. Those who take every opportunity to reduce personal or business taxes should be celebrated, not attacked.

— Leader-Telegram

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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