Dark Store Basics — What Is A Dark Store:   

MI Municipal League Update 2016 – Prior to the Dark Store theory, Michigan Big Box stores were assessed an average of $55 per square foot. Here’s where they are now compared to states where various Big Box stores are located:Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 5.03.28 PM

Representative David Maturen,  Vice-Chair, MI House Tax Policy Committee & sponsor of HB 4397 speaks on: 
“Boxed In” video documentary from NMU, featuring an interview and hearing clip on ‘Dark Store’ problems and policies. Hear a rundown of lengthy list of Deed Restrictions also associated with these rulings. See a Preview Clip...

Michigan Townships Association On the Issues

— Issue Briefing MAC (MI Assn of Counties):
Dark Store Memo for Governors

MCCFS Community Forum Videos:  Marquette Community speakers explain effects of Dark Store rulings on local community services. (11-5-15)

 Dark Store & Tax Fairness – Issues to Watch: Lake Superior Community Partnership (LSCP)

What Is the Honigman Firm influence:  “… attorney Michael Shapiro, a partner in the Honigman law firm in Detroit who has tried or argued dozens of such cases before the Michigan Tax Tribunal and the Michigan Court of Appeals and has settled hundreds of others on behalf of the property owners, said assessors shouldn’t confuse the value of a business with the value of a building…” (Big Box Stores Ringing Up Property Tax Discounts – Free Press 4-11-15) See more on the Dark Store supporters below…

ARTICLES – IN THE NEWS on Twitter #bigboxdarkstores

Contact Information


Michigan Tax Tribunal Website   Click on Tax Tribunal Docket Search and type in the Corporation in question as Petitioner or the Municipality as Respondent

Buy Local

Local Ownership Makes Communities Healthier, Wealthier and Wiser – ILSR
More studies: “… a growing body of research is finding that scale and ownership of business matter in ways that extend far beyond economic outcomes.”

Key Studies – Why Local Matters

Independent Business, Chain and “Big Box” Retail Studies
Top Reasons to Buy Local
Content Source: American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) a collection of articles and studies

IMG_2060 MAC Brigthmbnl

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Archived/Background: April 2016

Deed Restrictions & Dark Stores Impact Local Economy Michigan Municipal League, a group that provides resources and support for local governments, is a vocal opponent of the dark store theory, even testifying in Lansing about the issue.

March 2016
County Opposes Position – Abood Background At Issue
Dianda Says TT Appointment Hurts Locals Fighting Dark Store Tax Cuts

February 2016
WNMU Updates Dark Store Issues:
WNMU Media Meet Panel
Multi-billion Dollar Meyer, Inc., Finds Another Way to Screw MI Cities and Kids

January 2016
Like a Menacing Death Star
MI Municipal League:

December 2015
MI Municipal League Hearing Summary – The League testified at the MI House Tax Policy Committee hearing along with the Michigan Association of Counties and the Michigan Townships Association and others on December 9 AND:
Joint Statement against ‘Dark Store’ assessments from state-wide agencies
Tax Policy Progress – During a second hearing focusing on the issue with the Tax Policy Committee of the Michigan House Wednesday morning, progress was made toward finding a solution, said David Maturen, [see reference & interview above] a Republican state representative serving the 63rd District and vice chairman of the committee.
“We’re trying to find some common ground to get us back to what I perceive is a correct approach in valuing property,” he said. “We just want a level playing field for not only assessors, but also property owners.”

November 2015

 ‘Dark Store’ tax assessment practice hurts local governments Oshtemo Twp. Board
Esky hires attorney in dark store fight – Escanaba, MI
Legislature must close ‘dark stores’ tax loopholeBridge: The Center for MI news and analysis
Bill restores fairness to tax assessing – Times Herald, Port Huron
Grassroots effort to battle dark stores
A Taxing Situation
Community members voice opinions on dark stores
Packed house for dark store community forum
‘Dark Store’ Community Forum being held in Marquette
Group to host public forum on ‘Dark Store’ issue
Local Group to discuss ‘Dark Stores” in Lansing

October 2015

Residents voice concern and get questions answered on dark store issue
TV 6 – Upper MI Source Video, 10-28-15
Taking on the ‘Dark Store issue –Lake Superior Community Partnership
‘Dark Store’ efforts need to continue, gain more support – Mqt Mining Journal Opinion
Lawmakers to make major push to end property tax discounts for big box stores
Upper Peninsula group upset over big-box tax rulings
Group battling ‘dark store’ issue –  Marquette County Citizens for Fair Share
Bay may see big impact from ‘dark store’ issue – Escanaba
Bills target property tax cuts for ‘Big Box’ stores – Det Free Press
B.R.I.T.E.ning the future: stores lead the way to support the community


Casperson, Kivela bills help locals dealing with ‘dark stores’ – Casperson
Casperson, Kivela introduce ‘Big Box’ stores legislation
‘Dark store’ bills introduced in House, Senate
– MI Townships Assn.
Legislators talk ‘Big Box’ legislation
Big Box bullies prey on Michigan’s most vulnerable
Dianda Resolution calls for State study on Dark Store issue
Casperson talks roads, Dark Store legislation
Commission lawyers address tax tribunal issues


B.R.I.T.E. Stores Spread in Area
Kivela Discusses Dark Store Tax Tribunal Legislation
Tribunal decisions cost state Millions – Survey MI  Association County Treasurers
“Dark Store” theory benefits Mejier, other big retailersCrains Detroit Business
MI County Tax Tribunal refunds shown
Legislators look for “dark store “fix
Gov. Snyder non-committal on “dark stores” – interviewed by WNMU Radio’s Nicole Walton 9-13-15
Unfair Comparisons? Meijer and Other Big-Box Retailers Use ‘Dark Store’ Loophole to Cut Property Taxes
Local Stores Jump on Tax Loophole
Lawmakers to make major push to end property tax discounts for big box stores
Lawmakers to big box stores: Pay your fair share of taxes!
Big Box Flap Hits Small Town Budgets

JULY 2015

County Board Chair Reflects On Indiana Legislation
City Hires Counsel In Tax Case
Uncertainty Surrounds Budget

JUNE 2015

Still in the Dark #1 Mining Journal Series
Financial Trials – #2 Mining Journal Series
Schools Pay Interest On Tax Reductions #3 Mining Journal Series
UP Delegation Seeks Legislation #4 Mining Journal Series
Local Group Forms to Emphasize Tax EqualityFor Big Cities, Big Box Stores Are Becoming Even More of a Terrible Deal
Peter White Addresses Budget Shortfall
Verso appeals taxable value of Quinnesec Mill
More on Verso Paper appeal
State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) introduced House Bill 4681

MAY 2015

Don’t Let Big-box Stores Get Away With Huge Property Tax Cuts Det Free Press
Two U.P. townships dispute the property tax value of big-box stores

April 2015

State Rep. John Kivela Explains MI Proposal 1, Talks “Dark” Store Legislation And More
Marquette Twp: Target Settles for 1/3 Property Tax Reduction – Case Closedclick on “Document” to see final settlement amounts (Target as Petitioner or the Marquette Twp as Respondent)
Latest Impact of Tax Tribunal Ruling Could Be Roads 4-7-15
Michigan Tax Tribunal Information Session at Peter White Public Library -4-9-15
Big Box Stores Ringing Up Property Tax Discounts – Free Press 4-11-15
Tribunal Missed Mark – 4-15-15
Legislative Solution to Tax Issue May Be Coming 4-27-15

February & March 2015

Tax Tribunal Calls for REFUNDS
On NPR 2/27/2015:
Marquette County Faced with Possible Property Tax Hemorrhage
Peter White Library suspends Sunday hours
Peter White Public Library Board Meeting ~ March 17
Dark Store Disaster-Mary Wardell
Response from Mike Coyne in the Mining Journal
Library could take another hit from upcoming Tax Tribunal decisions

Articles 2014 – 13

Marquette gathers partners in We Energies tax dispute ~ November 25, 2014
Ruling in corporate tax case could cost Michigan $1 billionDetroit Free Press
The Big Box Bite
The County of Marquette granted Marquette Township funds to appeal Tax Tribunal
Marquette County looks to back townships in big box tax battle
Multibillion dollar Meijer, Inc. finds another way to screw Michigan cities and kids
From the MI Township Association September 2013
Big box tax battle -April 2013
Kivela & Casperson Are Working on it!

Michigan Tax Tribunal An Overview for Municipal Officials and Practitioners
MI Municipal League – 2011

MAIN LAW FIRMS & ASSOCIATIONS in Support of ‘Dark Stores’

There is room for balance on ‘dark store’ issue Detroit News in MJ 11.29.15 pro-Tribunal  – Detroit News Opinion

Michigan Retailers Association opposing view sample letter to B.R.I.T.E. stores: MRA response letter-1

APTC – American Property Tax Council  – The national affiliation of property tax attorneys…supports ‘dark methods’
A Retail- Big-Box Fight Jeopardizes Retail Property Profitability
See their Property Tax Representatives Map – get legal assistance all over the country

What Is the Honigman Firm influence:  “… attorney Michael Shapiro, a partner in the Honigman law firm in Detroit who has tried or argued dozens of such cases before the Michigan Tax Tribunal and the Michigan Court of Appeals and has settled hundreds of others on behalf of the property owners, said assessors shouldn’t confuse the value of a business with the value of a building…” (Big Box Stores Ringing Up Property Tax Discounts – Free Press 4-11-15)

More on Michael Shapiro

“Michigan Provides Property Tax Lessons for Big Box Retail” 

Property Tax Appeals: Honigman Business Law Firm

The Logical and Proper Determination of the True Cash Value of the Big Box Retail Stores –  Michael Shapiro

Paradigm Tax Group – property tax appeal service group

MI Bills Target Assessment Practices for Big Box Stores 11-15
“Michigan Retailers Association, … say the legislation unfairly singles out one type of property for special treatment by assessors, violating the uniformity provision of the Michigan Constitution”

MI Townships appeal property assessment reductions big box retailers    


How Big Corporations Cheat Public Education – 7-27-15

For Big Box Retailers: A Tale of Two ‘Dark Stores’

Appraisal/Assessment of Big Box Stores Remains an Issue – IN

Legislature Protects County Assessments on Big Box Stores Indiana

Legislation tackles big-box retail valuation issue  Indiana

Indiana Court Decision Good News for Big Box RetailIndiana

Meijer in INDIANA

Report on Property Assessment Challenges in Wisconsin

Kohler Co. scores court wins in tax battle Wisconsin

Some Related Background Info

Background and Retrospective on Prop A

2007 – Big Box Tool Kit
The Big Box Tool Kit – a 2007 “How To” for local control over Big Box proliferation and abandonment to help prevent local tax fiasco’s such as we are not experiencing… some good info, even though it is closing the barn doors after all the animals have escaped!

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