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State lawmaker wants to tax video games

New Richmond,Wisconsin 54017
New Richmond News
State lawmaker wants to tax video games
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

The videogame industry is fuming at a Wisconsin proposal to put a fee on game purchases to help pay for juvenile justice.

Sen. Erpenbach, D-Middleton, wants 17-year-olds to be tried as juveniles instead of adults and he wants the costs of their treatment to be funded by a 1 percent fee on video games and their machines.

However, Michael Gallagher of the Entertainment Software Association says it's wrong to equate video games with juvenile crime, it's a discriminatory tax and it would hurt the gaming industry.

Erpenbach says he does not believe video games cause crime, but he couldn't come up with a more appropriate way to raise the money.

The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families has tried for a couple years to put most 17-year-olds back into juvenile court, saying they're not being rehabilitated in prison.

Wendy Henderson, WCCF spokesperson, says a fee on video games would be appropriate, because they're not the best use of teenagers' time.

The question, though, is whether other legislators agree. Erpenbach is looking for co-sponsors for his bill.

Last month, Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, warned his colleagues the bill creates a new type of sales tax.