Minocqua still seeking new tax to support road workSubmitted: 07/11/2019
Story By Ben Meyer

Minocqua still seeking new tax to support road work
MINOCQUA - The Town of Minocqua wants to tax itself more to raise money to fix roads.

Now, it just needs permission from the state legislature.

Town Chair Mark Hartzheim was disappointed lawmakers didn't include approval for a Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) in the recent state budget. It would allow the town to add a half-percent sales tax on tourist spending to pay for roads.

"Our roads are, I mean, not terrible. They're not falling apart. But we have almost 200 miles of town roads. We're an enormous township, geographically speaking, so we have an enormous burden," Hartzheim said Thursday. "It just makes sense. We're trying to find ways on our own, without asking the state to give us more money, to fix the roads. It just makes sense for the state to let us do that."

Rhinelander started collecting the special tax in 2017.

Eagle River has had it even longer.

Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) plans to introduce a separate bill allowing Minocqua to start collecting the tax.

"Clearly, Minocqua is a community and an area in the state of Wisconsin that relies on tourism," said Swearingen. "Their population swells, certainly, in the summertime. It takes its toll on their infrastructure and their roads, and they clearly need this exemption."

If Swearingen's bill becomes law, Minocqua would have to get approval from its voters to start collecting the new tax.

An advisory referendum on the question passed easily last November.

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