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Wisconsin Mulls an Earmarked Video Game Tax 63

Posted by timothy
from the earmarks-are-for-cattle dept.
Mearlus writes "A Wisconsin lawmaker is proposing a law to add an additional tax on video games and equipment in order to help cover the costs of moving 17-year-old criminals back into the juvenile system." (According to the article, 17-year-olds are at present treated as adults by Wisconsin courts.)
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Wisconsin Mulls an Earmarked Video Game Tax

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  • It's a me (Score:3, Funny)

    by Brian Lewis (1011579) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:48AM (#21805488) Homepage
    The tax collector! Paya your taxes toa playa my newa system. Itsa the only waya we will bea good friends for lifea no?
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by djasbestos (1035410)
      I guess Mario will be smashing your face up for coins instead ofa smashing upa tha coinaboxes anda Goombahs.
  • by RocketScientist (15198) * on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:54AM (#21805538)
    This is like putting a tax on gas to pay for roads. Great, but what about hybrid cars, electric cars, and people who ride the bus?

    Direct taxation works best. Tax the people who contribute to the juvenile delinquincy problem: Parents. Tax all crotchfruit. Figure out what the average child tax deduction is, double it, and apply it as a state tax to pay for the costs the state bears for the kids, schooling them, policing them, and raising them since parents don't do any of that anymore.

    The state should be paying video game companies. After all, that's who's raising kids anymore, right? Parents sure as hell aren't doing it based on the screaming, obnoxious brats I see running around.
    • I'm not sure if you're aware.. but not all states have state tax. Texas, florida, and a handful of others, and we do not want or need a state tax.
      • by N3Roaster (888781)
        This is about Wisconsin. Wisconsin does have state tax.
        • The parent poster was talking about general taxation, not specifically wisconsin.

          I was reminding the parent poster that not all places have a state tax.
          • by trout007 (975317)
            Let's not forget that children will be the ones paying for your retirement. Or you could have negative birthrates like in Japan and Europe and say goodbye to civilization.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Doctor_Jest (688315)
        Too true.. and the only reason that Texas and Florida (dunno about others) don't have a state tax is that it's in the Constitution that the people have to vote one in... drives the politicians batty that they cannot pass a state tax without the people's consent. :)

        Taxing things to pay for other things works when everyone uses that particular thing, or the revenue generated is 100% from the users of it (like a gas or cigarette tax) and non-users are not incidentally taxed as a result. (school taxes are _not_
    • What about parents who do actually raise their kids? You have the same problem of taxing them for stupid shit other parents do (or don't do).
      • Still have to send them to school, build kiddie pools for them and so on.

        Plus the environmental impact. Let's start assessing the environmental impact of children into the mix also.
        • by Faylone (880739)
          Well, there's homeschooling, and what's up with kiddie pools, wouldn't that be covered by those who actually use them?
    • Kids were always screaming, obnoxious brats. Not all of them, but not all of them are today.

      There should be a GetOffMyLawn moderation.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Hellpop (451893)
      How about we just make the parents pay to re-integrate the little shits? Either that or just give them lethal injection. That'll teach 'em real good.
    • A message to darwin-rejects like yourself: that's fine, but everyone younger than you is expressively prohibited from changing your skanky ass diapers when you find yourself in a nursing home.

      Seriously. Think about your attitude, and the absolute reality that your life and comfort will be dependent on today's children at some point in your miserable hateful life.

    • In general, the more gas you use, the more road you use. So that's perfect. Plus I live in Wisconsin and when you cross the border into Illinois you think your car's suspension just went out but no, it's just their crappy roads. Wisconsin has some of the best kept roads in the country cuz of our ridiculous gas tax.
      But video games for convicts, wtf is that crap? I'm moving to Canada if they do that.
    • Conversely, I gather indirect taxation works better, as it is a guaranteed tax on consumption. You can't avoid buying food, etc in the same way that you can avoid "earning" money or whatever.

      • by Ironsides (739422)
        Conversely, I gather indirect taxation works better, as it is a guaranteed tax on consumption. You can't avoid buying food, etc in the same way that you can avoid "earning" money or whatever.

        Wanna bet? People on welfare use roads and most other services everyone else does. Yet they pay no income tax and cost the system more than they put in. After all, why should they work and pay taxes when the state is perfectly willing to feed clothe and shelter them? In Maryland, the only thing you need to do to
        • That's why indirect taxation is a good thing... Example: You can't avoid eating. If you pay a tax on the food you consume, then that's money in the government coffers.

          I can't comment on the welfare state system... I agree that it seems to be broken in most every country.

          • by suraklin (28841)
            Taxes on eating can also be avoided by the people on welfare, as most of them are on Food Stamps which exempts taxes on food.
    • Let me get this straight. You are complaining about obnoxious brats, yet you actually use the term "crotchfruit"?

      Your parents failed you, it seems.
  • by oahazmatt (868057) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:58AM (#21805594) Journal

    Lawmakers are also not sure how much the tax would generate.
    That depends, would this tax apply to sites like amazon.com? If not, then local chains might suffer more and the tax would make jack.
    • If it's like most sales taxes, it would theoretically apply to online purchases too but nobody would bother to report it with their annual income taxes like they're supposed to.
      • IANAL, but if it is interstate commerce, then no, state sales taxes do not and should not apply. Most states try to get around this by calling it a "use tax", but I still think that is questionable. Now if the federal governemnt created a interstate sales tax, then online companies would have to pay sales tax to the feds on their shipments across boundries and it would all be legal.

        None of this would stop the state from breaking down your door and pointing guns at you if you don't pay their "use tax." And

  • As in, assuming that most videogamers are about the same age as the 17 year-olds who are about to cost the State so much money?

    If so, the lawmakers haven't seen any of the demographics estimates, which put the average gamer age at about 30...

  • by CambodiaSam (1153015) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:59AM (#21805604)
    Wow, the good folks in Madison must be hitting the nog pretty hard. It's obvious the ONLY connection here is youth. My favorite part of the article is how the lawmakers 'Aren't sure how much money would be generated'.

    Can anyone help me understand this or is it nothing more than playing off mythical video game fears and targeting a group of people who don't vote?
    • I would say yes on all accounts.
    • by east coast (590680) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:26AM (#21805874)
      Can anyone help me understand this or is it nothing more than playing off mythical video game fears and targeting a group of people who don't vote?

      I assume by saying "group of people who don't vote" you're talking about underagers?

      If that's what you're thinking than the answer is no. It's more that they're hitting the pocket books of what they see as a minority of voters because they know it's not going to cause the kind of backlash that actually matters. No one is going to get voted out over this.

      It's like when they tax cigarettes. The cigarette smoking public is about 20 percent, give or take, depending on who's numbers you use. They know that even if every smoker got pissed about it there really isn't so much of a margin to swing the vote. Why don't they tax (or stop subsidizing) the meat industry instead? It's known to be a health problem and it has a much wider tax base. That coupled with obesity is driving healthcare costs (and thus government payouts) way up.

      Oh, that's right. Only about 6% of all Americans are vegetarian. That other 94% are part of the voting public. That's a bad move on election day so tax money helps keep the beef industry alive instead of forcing them to find a way to stand on their own two feet with a product that is in high demand.

      So, no, it's not about the age of the voter. It's about the numbers of voters who have something to lose. If you can continue to pound on minority groups of voters it's not going to produce any real change at the top.

      But than again, it's not like voting between Democrat and Republican is going to cause a real change at the top either.
      • by steveo777 (183629)
        Subsidized meat? I'd say that we should start some nice taxes on High Fructose Corn Syrup in stead. That's causing much more problems than red meat could hope to cause. So what if soda goes up in price, and it costs more for a candy bar. Good. Maybe people will have to start sitting on the couch and eating potato chips... oh wait. Hmm.. going to have to start taxing the hydrogenated oils. I'd be for that as well. Only problem is that, as you've stated. It's more about money than health. but there
        • by jmauro (32523)
          Actually ethanol production and subsidies are helping push the price of corn and sugar up quite nicely since it sucks a lot of excess corn and sugar out of the market. Whether it is good policy to do this is another issue, but it's what the government has done.
      • by brkello (642429)
        Eh. Not really. Smoking is just viewed negatively by the general public...since it is popular to dislike smokers, it is ok to tax it. Video games are the evil that my generation grew up with and those in power don't understand. As some counter examples to what you are stating, we all use gas and there are gas taxes. There are taxes on alcohol and the majority of Americans drink. People are still getting elected. This elected official sees a problem and tries to think of a way to pay for it and came up
    • by cliffski (65094)
      even the youth connection is bullshit. My games are mostly played by adults. Are they going to tax mine too? If they do, I'll have to add a special "dumbass video game tax" policy to Democracy 2.
  • It's true that 17-year-olds are considered adults in the eyes of the law (if not elsewhere). And they can prosecute younger children as adults for some serious crimes.

    As for this tax, though... it sounds like another freshman politician who's trying to show that he's got some fresh ideas. I suspect that the proposal will get some half-hearted consideration because the goal is a good idea (providing funding for rehabilitation efforts), but ultimately it will fall short when people realize that it's a backha
  • by WombatDeath (681651) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:36AM (#21805968)
    If you're anything like me, you'll regularly encounter opposing viewpoints and have a mental reaction that lies somewhere between "I disagree but see your point" and "that's a bit stupid". Now and again, though, something crops up which is so breath-takingly demented that I'm torn between horror, hilarity and utter bewilderment. This gem falls squarely into the latter category.

    • Why are all 17-year-olds targeted for the actions of a minority?
    • Why is the age group least able to afford a tax being targeted?
    • Somewhat contrary to the above, who thinks that the average gamer is 17?
    • Which part of wider society fails to benefit from a better judicial system?
    • More generally, in what universe can this proposal possibly make any sense?

    "The idea being that this is kind of a kids-kids thing, in other words, if we're going to do this for kids maybe this would be a good way to go about it. And if it's not the best way, I'm open to any other way"

    Yes, I think it's pretty damn clear that "any other way" is likely to be rather less moronic than this.
  • Never mind that rates of nonviolent crimes, just like violent crime, have dropped steadily as videogames have become increasingly popular.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Yvan256 (722131)
      How the hell are people supposed to commit crimes when they spend 60 hours a week playing World of Warcraft?
  • Being a native of Texas, and only living in Wisconsin for the last 5 years or so, I can say that Wisconsin is a tax friendly state. I mean to say that Wisconsin taxes just about anything it can, and the taxes applied are not trivial. It doesn't surprise me that Wisconsin is looking for a way to tax the gaming industry, it's unfortunate that the addition is even being mentioned though.

    That all being said, I read the article but could not find a link to the proposed tax. Taxing video games specifically is
    • Wisconsin doesn't tax necessities, while states like Illinois do tax them. However, Wisconsin has seen a sales tax hike to 5.5% from the long established 5% we've been used to.

      Given that we're no longer in our Tommy Thompson heyday, much of the state-driven benefits we've enjoyed over the years could well be on their way out.

      Now, if this screwing video game tax does pass into law, I'll bet several other vice items not currently taxed will be next. For example, how long until we see an iPod tax or a DVD tax?
    • Here's a link to the news story http://www.channel3000.com/news/14916807/detail.html [channel3000.com]
  • Add it to the booze tax, or the gasoline tax, or something else that's got a relationship to the problem.
  • Say what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:25PM (#21806584) Homepage Journal

    [...] add an additional tax on video games and equipment in order to help cover the costs of moving 17-year-old criminals back into the juvenile system.
    Also planned is a tax on orange juice in order to help cover the costs of people getting sick from smoking and a tax on computer monitors in order to cover the costs of people recovering from sexual harassment at work.

     
  • I hope they don't use too much cinnamon; some people find it overpowering.
  • Well, It is not where I live.
    Starts humming Taxman
  • The earmark makes it sound like there is a connection between youth crime and video games.

    Remove the earmark, and put the funds into the general fund. Then use more of the general fund to help fund what they wish they fund, allowing 17-year olds to go to juvenile court.

    By trying to make this connection between youth crime and video games, they're opening up a mess of problems.
  • E-MAIL this BOZO ( Sen.Erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov ) and tell them HOW you feel. IF it happens in ONE STATE, the OTHER STATES will TRY to do it BECAUSE it would generate FREE MONEY that the STATE Governments could use for what ever they WANTED!!
  • How about a tax on what's REALLY responsible for 90+% of juvenile deliquency: BAD PARENTING? Is there some way to tax parents who run a meth lab in their home, forget to feed their kids for days on end, get hooked on heroin, or force their kids into drug-dealing or prostitution to support their crack habit? Can we tax 19-year-old girls who live in shitty neighborhoods and already have 3 kids by 3 different fathers--none of whom is around?

    Yeah, it MUST be the videogames' fault.

  • The bill's author, state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, said the money raised from the tax isn't to dissuade gamers...

    Of course taxes on cigarettes are to dissuade smokers but taxes on games are not to dissuade gamers.

    Lawmakers are also not sure how much the tax would generate.

    Why would a lawmaker need to know that? Next you'll be asking programmers to know which language they are going to use for their project.

    Erpenbach said at this point, he's not sure how much it would cost to move non-violent 17-year-olds to the juvenile system.

    Of course he doesn't know. He didn't know how much the taxes would raise why would know how much money is needed?


    Also not from the article, Erpenbach is a democrat from a suburb of Madison.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Erpenbach [wikipedia.org]
    Wisconsin is the 6th most t

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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