Dark store lawsuits could give big businesses tax breaks - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Dark store lawsuits could give big businesses tax breaks

Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

Lawsuits allowing big box stores to pay lower property taxes have come to Texas.

Multiple cities across the Midwest, and more recently, Texas, are facing 'dark store' lawsuits from large companies.

The logic behind the dark store argument is this: Big box stores are unique enough that if the tenant were to leave, the building would remain vacant.

Cities and counties facing these lawsuits are put in a lose-lose situation.

Governments can decide to fight the lawsuits costing them money in legal fees or allow the tax cut taking away from the general fund.

Local law experts said cities and counties are not equipped to handle these types of lawsuits.

"Big corporations have lawyers on retainer who are typically very well-paid and very smart, " attorney Jeff Blackburn said. "In contrast, city governments have to hire those types of lawyers at great expense, or use up their own resources such as tax revenue."

Many experts are concerned with the domino effect. When larger retailers get property tax cuts for having unique buildings, apartments, hotels and office spaces, other structures will seek similar benefits.

The most recent county in Texas to face this problem was Bexar. The county has spent $1.2 million in legal fees against Lowe's who is looking to reduce its property tax at 10 locations in the county.

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