Lawmakers to big box stores: Pay your fair share of taxes!

Last year, a Menard’s in Escanaba won a $121,000 tax refund using the “dark stores” argument for lowering its assessed value. That was money the Upper Peninsula city has budgeted for major road repair. (courtesy photo)

Last year, a Menard’s home improvement store won a property tax appeal that required the City of Escanaba to refund the company $121,000. That’s about the cost of what the Upper Peninsula community of 12,000 on Little Bay de Noc budgeted for major street repairs next year.

Meanwhile, in Marquette Township, Lowe’s also won a $755,000 tax refund for its store. As a result, Marquette’s Peter White public library, the largest in the U.P., could no longer afford to open its doors on Sundays.

Across Michigan, communities – mostly small cities, townships, counties and schools – are losing costly legal battles with large retail stores. The companies behind the stores are successfully arguing to…

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