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Lawmakers ask Governor Whitmer to support UP city in "dark store" case


LANSING, MI--   Four Upper Peninsula lawmakers have sent Governor Gretchen Whitmer a letter urging her to support the city of Escanaba in its “dark store” case. 

The city filed a lawsuit against the practice of allowing stores to be valued as if they were vacant in local tax assessments. The litigation is currently before the Michigan Tax Tribunal. The letter asks the governor to increase the $250,000 cap on state support to help Escanaba fight the dark store practice in court.

Representatives Sara Cambensy, Beau LaFave and Greg Markkanen and Senator Ed McBroom signed the letter. It asks the state Treasury to approve additional money to allow a real estate market economist to testify in the Escanaba vs. Menards tax tribunal case set for Monday.

The lawmakers say since the tribunal’s initial decision in 2010, retail chains have been able to cut their property taxes by up to 50 percent, costing millions of dollars to local units of government and the school aid fund.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.