Despite past support, City of Tomahawk no closer to PRAT
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – More than three years after 69% of voters supported a 0.5% Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) in a 2018 advisory referendum, the City of Tomahawk is no closer to its implementation.
A PRAT is a retail sales tax that allows tourism-related retailers to collect an additional state tax at the same time their state taxes are collected. The PRAT funds are paid to the Department of Revenue, which then returns the money to the municipality. The funds can only be allocated to infrastructure needs, such as road maintenance and bridge repairs.
The State Legislature must approve a PRAT.
At the end of the City of Tomahawk Finance Committee’s meeting on Tuesday, June 30, District 1 alderperson Mickey Loka said he had communicated via email with 35th Assembly District Representative Calvin Callahan (R-Tomahawk) about a PRAT.
Loka said the PRAT item “did not make it to the floor” during the State Legislature’s recent budget session.
Although it has previously garnered overwhelming local support, a PRAT has not been approved at the state level, despite multiple attempts.
In 2019, then-35th Assembly District Representative and current 12th Senate District seat holder Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk) was among numerous state legislators who introduced a bill that would have authorized the City of Tomahawk, the Town of Minocqua and the City of Sturgeon Bay to become premier resort areas, ultimately allowing the municipalities to implement a 0.5% PRAT. The bill died in committee due to leadership choosing not to move it forward.
After the bill stalled, Felzkowski said, “We have a whole segment (of legislators) that hate PRATs.”
“It’s a vote for a tax, and there are just certain people that will never vote for a tax,” she stated.
A bill introduced at the same time by then-State Senator and current U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) suffered a similar fate.