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La Crosse County Voters Support New Tax For Road Funding

County Leaders Hope The Half-Cent Tourism Tax Will Fund $88 Million In Road Needs

road closed sign
Myrtle Beach TheDigitel (CC-BY)  

La Crosse county voters are behind the idea of a new tourism tax to raise money for roads.

Despite strong opposition from the business community, 55 percent voted in favor of a premier resort area tax, or PRAT. La Crosse is the first county to pursue the half-cent sales tax at places like restaurants, hotels and gift shops.

La Crosse County Board Chair Tara Johnson said it’s clear county residents want action solving on road funding issues.

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“I hope that the results of the PRAT referendum vote brings the community together to continue to put pressure on the state,” Johnson said. “The state has not done what they need to do and there is consensus in the community that something needs to change.”

La Crosse County Board member and state Rep. Steve Doyle said he was pleased voters support creative solutions to road funding needs.

“It is unfortunate however that we have to go to these kind of measures when the state isn’t fulfilling its obligations,” Doyle said.

La Crosse does not meet state requirements to establish PRAT, so the referendum is to show local support before Doyle and other local legislators ask the Legislature for an exception to state law.

Doyle said he’s hopeful Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos will support legislation.

Given that the voters themselves have said ‘this is what we are interested in,’ I think that gives it a shot,” Doyle said.

If the Legislature and the governor approve the exception, county residents will vote again on a binding referendum to approve the tax.