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La Crosse County plans next step in approving half-percent sales tax



La Crosse County’s drive to set up a premier resort tax goes back to the state legislature in the new year.

To help promote the highway funding proposal, the La Crosse County Board will host La Crosse legislators Steve Doyle, Jennifer Shilling and Jill Billings for a discussion at a February meeting.

Board chair Tara Johnson hopes that the 68 percent passage last month of a county Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) referendum will persuade some legislators to support the plan.

The PRAT is a half-percent sales tax on most good sold in La Crosse County.

On the November referendum, this is how the PRAT was worded:

“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.”(La Crosse County plans next step in approving PRAT tax)

Of the four road-funding questions on the April referendum, also passing with 78 percent was a county investment of $5 million a year.

The PRAT — worded the same way — received 55% of the yes vote in a referendum a year and a half ago.

The county cannot impose that tax on area businesses unless the governor and legislature approve.

Johnson said the PRAT is a high priority for the county, along with juvenile facilities and child protection services.

Here’s the 16-page document on what the PRAT is and covers, exactly. Below is a list of of businesses it would affect.

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

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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1 Comment

  1. George Caplan

    December 13, 2018 at 6:21 am

    I think people voted for the prat because they think some one else will be paying the tax not them. Read the list pretty much everywhere the general public shops is on it. Ignorance when it comes to the public is often the politicians best friend.

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