As I See It
Slow down on sales tax for roads
It is the day after the election, but let’s face it, we’ll all a little burned out on politics. So we will take a break from the political talk today, and focus on something equally frustrating…the condition of our roads. The state of Wisconsin has continually failed to develop a long-term, sustainable approach for paying for roadwork in Wisconsin, so a number of cities and counties are taking matters into their own hands. Some are passing wheel taxes, designed to generate local money to pay to fix the roads the state will not. La Crosse County is considering a more novel approach, but maybe putting the cart before the horse. The county is considering adopting a special sales tax that could generate more than $5 million a year in road funding. The tax would be levied on patrons of certain tourism related businesses. But there are many problems with this plan. Adopting the new tax would require a special waiver from the state. Getting that waiver is no certainty. Even if the legislature granted the waiver, Governor Walker could veto it. But most importantly, we don’t yet know how people in La Crosse County feel about the plan. It would be a mistake to seek state approval if the people who have to drive our roads aren’t in support of the plan. La Crosse County should put the brakes on this plan, at least until they can prove their idea has the support of those who would have to pay this new tax.