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Walgreens' court decision may mean higher property taxes

If you have a Walgreens in your city, there's a chance you'll pay higher property taxes.

That's what municipal lawyers warned Tuesday, after the State Supreme Court settled a tax dispute between the drug store chain and the city of Madison.

But the company says the issue involves less than half of the 200 Walgreens' stores in the Badger State.

On a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court said Madison must base its taxes on fair market values and not on the higher rent Walgreens typically pays in about two dozen Wisconsin cities.

Company attorney Robert Gordon says development firms own the properties.

They're built to Walgreens' specifications and the company's leases are based on development costs and property taxes.

Walgreens asked for a tax refund of $150,000, but a circuit court must still decide the final amount to be given.

Milwaukee says the chain has asked for a $600,000 tax refund on 21 stores there.

Milwaukee Deputy City Attorney Vincent Moschella says Tuesday's ruling will have a far-reaching impact across the state and will affect other businesses besides Walgreens.