Tax Exempt Battles Could Mean Losses of Tens of Thousands to Local Governments
La Crosse has long struggled to deal with the fiscal challenges of having excessive tax exempt properties in the city. And now there may be more. The Shrine of Our Lady Guadalupe is one of two organizations seeking tax relief in the form of an exemption from the city council this week. The Shrine wants its gift shop and restaurant declared exempt, even though neither has had that status since being built. Attorney Tom Kieffer represents the Shrine in the tax fight. He disagrees with the city's contention that neither the gift shop nor the restaurant are essential to the evangelical mission of the shrine. Local governments could lose 45 thousand dollars in tax money if the Shrine gets its exemption. WTC is also hoping for an exemption for the student dorm it has built downtown even though the school owns neither the building or the land it's built on.