Walker addresses gas tax, La Crosse resort tax proposal

Governor Walker made a stop in Tomah Monday to tout some of the proposals in his budget plan.

The governor visited Lemonweir Elementary to promote his plan to increase funding for K-12 schools in the state.

He also answered questions on a variety of topics, including the transportation parts of his budget.

Walker says he remains opposed to a hike in the state’s gas tax in theory and there are other ways to find the money for road projects, but has had preliminary discussions with some Republican lawmakers about the idea.

“It has changed several times since that briefing and our initial briefings, so until we see the entire document it’s hard to know what’s in or what’s out,” said Walker. “There was some talk that they might lower the gas tax and make some changes in the sales tax, but again until we see it, it’s hard to argue about it until I actually see it in print.”

On the topic of sales taxes, the governor also commented on La Crosse County’s recent efforts to implement a Premier Resort Area tax.

County officials want to create the tourism-related sales tax of one half of one percent in order to help fund road repairs, estimating the move could generate about $6.6 million dollars.

The idea passed an advisory referendum with 55 percent of the vote last month, but would eventually have to get the okay from the state legislature and governor as part of the approval process.

“I believe, if I’m to sign off on anything, it has to be a vote of the people,” said Walker. “Sometimes, advisory runs are precursors to what might happen with a binding referendum, other times people know suddenly it counts, the vote could be different.”

The Premier Resort Area Tax would have to get approval from Madison before going back to the County Board, where it would then need to pass by a super majority two-thirds vote.

After that, it would go back to the voters for a final binding referendum.