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UW-L’s Heim doesn’t see “resort” sales tax getting through legislature, but also doesn’t think it was a fluke voters passed it



One political expert in La Crosse doesn’t hold out much hope for La Crosse County getting its Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT).

The concept of a PRAT, which would be a half-percent sales tax collected from most local businesses, has been approved on county referendums two consecutive years.


Joe Heim, political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, however, said on Thursday on WIZM that Republicans who run the legislature probably won’t like the idea.

“I think you have to be honest, getting through the state legislature, a new tax, I question whether that’s ever going to happen,” Heim told Mike Hayes.

Heim also doesn’t think that it passing two referendums in the county is a fluke.

“People have had two shots at this on the ballot,” Heim said, “and the second time around, they actually voted an even higher number than the first time.

“So I don’t think you can assume there’s some kind of ignorance out there.”

The wording on both referendums for the PRAT was exactly the same and as follows:

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.

Of the four road-funding questions on the November referendum, along with the PRAT getting 68.2 percent of the yes votes, also passing with 78 percent was a county investment of $5 million a year. The PRAT received 55 percent of the yes vote in a referendum a year and a half ago.

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

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  1. Pingback: UW Daily – January 2, 2019 | UW Daily

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