A 2019 report by the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) found that of the 25 Maine towns with the highest retail sales, 17 had big box stores appeal their property tax valuations. The analysis further found that valuations were requested to be reduced by 34% on average.
Matlack’s bill mandates that retail properties be assessed the same as other open retail facilities.
“This is a matter of fairness,” said Sarah Austin, MECEP’s director of policy and research, on the need for the bill. “The services, infrastructure, and amenities funded by property taxes increase our quality of life and help businesses succeed. But large, multi-national big-box retailers increasingly turn to dark store theory to get out of paying what they should.”