Tax will pay for Mercury loans in Wisconsin

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A half-cent county sales tax - imposed this year for the first time in Fond du Lac (Wis.) County history - is generating enough funds to pay back loans for Mercury Marine and to hold off new county debt.

The tax was implemented after the county provided a $50 million economic assistance loan to Mercury Marine as part of the package that kept the marine engine manufacturer in the state. Proceeds from the county sales tax are being used to pay for the borrowing, the Fond du Lac Reporter newspaper reported.

"We're feeling very positive that Brunswick (the parent company of Mercury Marine) is honoring their commitments," Fond du Lac county executive Allen Buechel told the newspaper, referring to such matters as job creation, the transfer of production to Fond du Lac and financial stability. "We think it was worth the [financial] risk taken."

Buechel and other leaders believe the county sales tax will generate about $6.5 million in revenue a year. The sum is more than is needed to repay the Mercury loan.

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