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La Crosse County Board chair happy two road-funding questions passed

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Two advisory referendums in La Crosse County to fund roads received over 50 percent of the vote, while two others did not.

Increasing short-term borrowing (73.8 percent no) and enacting a $56 wheel tax (68.4 percent no) were voted down.

A county investment of $5 million a year (78 percent said yes) and a Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) given the OK (68.2 percent said yes). It was the second time in 1.5 years the county said yes to the PRAT. Last referendum received 55 percent of the yes vote.

The PRAT is basically a half-percent tax on just about anything sold in the county.

Here’s the 16-page document on what the PRAT is and covers, exactly. Here’s how it was worded on the ballot:

If the La Crosse County Board finds it necessary to increase local spending on roads and bridges due to insufficient state and federal funds, do you support pursuing the enactment of a Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) of 0.5 percent as a sales tax on tourism-related goods and services as defined in state law? This option is estimated to raise $6.6 million per year, of which $1.6 million will be shared with the cities, villages and towns for their transportation needs.

County Board chair Tara Johnson said opponents of the PRAT had dismissed the first approval in a referendum last year as sort of a fluke.

“There were definitely some folks who said, ‘Oh in April of ’17 it was spring election, low voter numbers, it doesn’t really have a valid weight to it.'” Johnson said.

The La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce concluded wrote it would cost families  not tourists  $105 per year and that 74 percent of that $6.6 million in funding would come from county residents. Below is a list (from that 16-page document) of businesses it would affect.

Johnson said fellow county supervisor Steve Doyle is ready to re-introduce the PRAT plan in the legislature.

Madison has to give its approval before the county could put such a tax on local businesses into effect.

5311 – Department stores
5331 – Variety stores
5399 – Miscellaneous general merchandise stores
5441 – Candy, nut and confectionery stores
5451 – Dairy product stores
5461 – Retail bakeries
5499 – Miscellaneous food stores
5541 – Gasoline service stations
5611 – Men’s and boys’ clothing and accessory stores
5621 – Women’s clothing stores
5632 – Women’s accessory and specialty stores
5641 – Children’s and infants’ wear stores
5651 – Family clothing stores
5661 – Shoe stores
5699 – Miscellaneous apparel and accessory stores
5812 – Eating places
5813 – Drinking places
5912 – Drug stores and proprietary stores
5921 – Liquor stores
5941 – Sporting goods stores and bicycle shops
5942 – Bookstores
5943 – Stationery stores
5944 – Jewelry stores
5945 – Hobby, toy, and game shops
5946 – Camera and photographic supply stores
5947 – Gift, novelty and souvenir shops
5948 – Luggage and leather goods stores
5949 – Sewing, needlework, and piece goods stores
5992 – Florists
5993 – Tobacco stores and stands
5994 – News dealers and newsstands
5999 – Miscellaneous retail stores
7011 – Hotels and motels
7032 – Sporting and recreational camps
7033 – Recreational vehicle parks and campsites
7922 – Theatrical producers (except motion picture) and miscellaneous theatrical services
7929 – Bands, orchestras, actors, and other entertainers and entertainment groups
7948 – Racing, including track operation
7991 – Physical fitness facilities
7992 – Public golf courses
7993 – Coin-operated amusement devices
7996 – Amusement parks
7997 – Membership sports and recreation clubs
7999 – Amusement and recreational services, not elsewhere classified

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