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La Crosse businesses oppose sales tax to fund roads in county

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PRAT will add .5-percent tax on most goods in La Crosse County

The idea of a sales tax designed specifically for funding highway repairs was passed by La Crosse County voters in an April referendum.

The .5-percent Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) could be killed easily, either by Madison politicians, the county board or by voters in another referendum.

The PRAT advisory referendum won with 54.9 percent of the vote. Basically, it will add a half-percent sales tax to most goods sold in La Crosse County (examples in picture above).

Vicki Markussen at the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce says many businesses oppose PRAT, and the Chamber is looking at other options for helping the county fix its roads.

“We all know the PRAT will not fund all of them so we are proceeding in terms of, ‘What are we recommending to the state, is the long-term, funding solution?'” Markussen said.

The Chamber is holding a forum on PRAT alternatives for its members in September.

“We have asked the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance to come in to inform our members about the different options for funding infrastructure, so that our members can say, ‘We prefer this option,'” Chamber director Vicki Markussen said.

There’s no timetable on when the legislature could take up the plan for the tax.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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