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State lawmaker wants to tax video games

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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.

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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.

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