Video Game Tax Proposed in Wisconsin

By Chris Remo, Dec 28, 2007 1:59pm PST Wisconsin state senator Jon Erpenbach (D) wants to keep 17-year-old non-violent offenders from being tried as adults in his state, a proposal that seems to be facing little contention--what is more controversial is that Erpenbach wants to pay for the juvenile rehabilitation programs by establishing a new 1% video game sales tax.

Erpenbach's statements on the matter, as reported by local Madison network WISC, suggest he associates gaming with minors, providing a link between the tax and its purpose. "The idea being that this is kind of a kids/kids thing," he explained. "In other words, if we're going to do this for kids maybe this would be a good way to go about it."

Critics of the target of the tax include state representative Steve Nass (R), who points out video games are unrelated to juvenile crime. The state senator indicated he would take other suggested funding proposals into consideration for the bill.

Defending the program's aim, Erpenbach said, "It's the right thing to do because not all 17-year-olds belong in the adult system when it comes to non-violent offenses. ...If you treat certain situations in a juvenile delinquent-type of a setting, as opposed to an adult setting, chances are there's going to be less of a problem when the kid gets older."

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  • I think this is another way for politicians to try and ban video games from society. Politicians obviously don't, can't, and won't understand the benefits of gaming. It's the same thing with cigarettes here in New Jersey: they can't make it illegal but they can tax the hell out of it to make it really hard for consumers to buy, essentially invoking a ban.

    They may add only 1% now, but when there funds are hurting they'll simply increase it over time and 10 years from now it'll be 25%.

    And, if anything, video games are a tool for keeping kids OFF the streets and out of crime by soaking up their time sitting in the living room - isn't it counterintuitive to charge kids more to do that? They should be coming up with ways to make it EASIER for kids to do some good, clean gaming. Gaming is relaxing and can otherwise make a kid focus. When was the last time you heard of a rape occurring at the same time the rapist is playing Mario Kart?