La Crosse, WI (WXOW)-- The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, on the far south end of the city, is seeking property tax exemptions for the gift shop and the café located on the shrine grounds.
Religious entities are entitled to property tax exemptions in Wisconsin. At The Shrine, the church and rectory are already exempt. But the shrine is requesting tax exception for the gift shop and the restaurant.
On Wednesday a judge issued a summary judgment affirming the claim that the gift shop qualifies for property tax exemptions. However, whether the restaurant qualifies will have to be decided at trial.
An attorney for The Shrine says The Culina Mariana Café is now owned by The Shrine and it does qualify for religious exemption.
"Right now the shrine's position is it's seeking an 80 percent exemption for the restaurant," said Thomas Kieffer, an attorney. "The Shrine acknowledges that some of its uses, at least at the time, were not of a religious nature and we couldn't prove that. But we believe 80 percent could be proven."
Kieffer says, though the judgment declared the gift shop tax exempt, it could be years before it takes affect because the city could challenge the ruling in court.
We tried to contact attorneys from the City of La Crosse. They were unavailable for comment.
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