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Tuesday - November 7, 2017 9:32 am

Many reasons not to like PRAT tax

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Efforts to allow La Crosse county to adopt a special tax are moving along in Madison. Unfortunately, those efforts are misguided. La Crosse County is seeking special permission from the state legislature to institute what is called a PRAT tax. This extra half cent sales tax could generate millions of much needed dollars to pay for road improvements throughout the county. But there are many problems with is idea. The PRAT tax is designed to be issued only to tourism related businesses, but the tax would apply to much more than hotels and restaurants. It would also apply to fabric shops, florists, jewelry stores and department stores. There are 44 business categories on which the tax would be levied. It seems the list of who is charged the tax is longer than the list of who is not. And it would likely tax more locals than those from out of town. The money raised would ostensibly pay for road work throughout the county. But little of that money would pay for road work within the city of La Crosse. Technically, the money doesn't have to be used for road or bridge repair, according to state law. But there is a lot of wiggle room here, and if adopted, La Crosse County could use the extra PRAT money for a variety of purposes. The county has promised it would only use the money to pay for road work. But the current half cent county sales tax adopted 20 years ago was supposed to expire, before being adopted permanently. No doubt, even if this tax passes and raises enough money to fix all our roads, the tax would continue to be levied.

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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