Connect with us

Local News

First workshop on “tourism” tax at 8:30 a.m. today



Meetings, at administrative center, centered around referendum on resort tax.

The La Crosse County board is holding two workshops this week to figure out the strategy to persuade voters to pass a referendum on a resort tax.

At 8:30 a.m. today is the first workshop for supervisors, which will be held at the new administrative center. The second meeting is Tuesday afternoon.

For more info on the “tourism tax,” read the original story below:

What is clear about a proposed .5 percent sales tax for La Crosse County is that there’s much about it that’s not clear. 

Not even after the county board voted to put the tax on the ballot in an advisory referendum in April.

County board member Ray Ebert was asked if he thought the lack of clarity was by intention.

“I don’t think that,” Ebert told WIZM. “I just think it had to come up so quickly that we didn’t get a chance to educate ourselves. I don’t think there’s anything nefarious about it.”

Although it’s been implied by some in county government that the premier resort area tax would be directed mostly towards tourist activities, it’s become clear that the .5  percent would be tacked on to just about everything from candy to tobacco, raising $5-6 million a year in tax revenue.   

“It covers so much more than just tourism or tourist-related items,” Ebert said. “I haven’t been able to find out if a 2×4 is covered from Menards.”

There’s not a lot of time between now and April’s vote. Ebert worries about that, as well.

“It’s so difficult and so complex that it just bothers me, and then we’re going to put it on a referendum,” he said. “How are we going to educate folks to know so they can cast an inteligent ballot?”

The county would need a waiver from the state before adopting the special tax. 


The premier Resort Area Tax will be on the ballot as an advisory referendum in April.

On the county board, the .5 percent tax is getting sold as a way to fund road repairs by taxing visitors to the county.

What WIZM has found out, it’s essentially, just another .5 percent increase in sales tax for just about everything.

Millions of dollars a year, the board says, will come from those coming to La Crosse County, staying in hotels and eating at restaurants. 

But, according to information from the state, the tax would actually get tacked on to a wide range of regular, everyday purchases made at places like liquor stores, camera stores, clothing stores, drug stores, book stores, shoe stores, candy stores … you get the idea.

Only six municipalities in the state currently have such a sales tax. La Crosse County would need legislative approval to enact one of its own.

It would also include hotels, restaurants, bars, golf courses, bicycle shops. The list seems endless. Here is just a snippet of the types of sales subject to the premier resort area tax:

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *