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Saturday, May 05, 2018

Dark Store Loophole Becomes Needed Suicide Relief For Anti-Union Businesses


As Republican legislators hold firm in their defense to keep the Dark Store loophole open for some of their biggest campaign donors, the problem doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon in Wisconsin.

Because as long as Wisconsin's private and public sector unions huge declines in membership and revenue is seen as "winning," so goes the urgency to keep some form of local tax relief mechanism in play for declines in middle-class retail spending.

The Dark Store connection to anti-unionism just recently dawned on me when I realized that some of the biggest names in Janesville supporting and endorsing anti-union political candidates also happen to be the biggest names applying for and winning Dark Store property tax relief. Menards, Walmart, the Janesville Gazette and Farm and Fleet are all well known for their support of establishment republicans. The same establishment republicans who passed Act 10, anti-worker Right-to-Work and anti-prevailing wage laws are the same republicans defending the Dark Store loophole.

It should also come as no surprise that the last two fake town halls Paul Ryan held in Janesville was at one of his biggest local boosters, Blaine's Farm and Fleet. Apparently Blaine's needed the congressman to reassure them that more relief, other than Dark Store, is on the way with his promised corporate tax cuts as the retailer's political war on unions, intrinsically tied to the state's shrinking apple pie and Chevrolet customer farm base, became a double crisis for the Janesville-based retailer.

As insanely crazy and suicidal as it appears, there is no question in my mind that by supporting efforts to wipe out unions, these businesses supported efforts to wipe out their most stable and reliable middle-class customer base. Perhaps there is some remorse, but at this stage, they're willing to do anything to justify their war because "winning" is everything.

Republicans see the Dark Store loophole as a necessary and urgent component to relieve businesses for losses their race-to-the-bottom political activities caused. So should residential property taxpayers and everyone else.

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