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Wisconsin Mulls an Earmarked Video Game Tax

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the earmarks-are-for-cattle dept.

Government 63

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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It's a me (3, Funny)

Brian Lewis (1011579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805488)

The tax collector! Paya your taxes toa playa my newa system. Itsa the only waya we will bea good friends for lifea no?

Re:It's a me (0, Troll)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805816)

I guess Mario will be smashing your face up for coins instead ofa smashing upa tha coinaboxes anda Goombahs.

Re:It's a me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21806002)

To the idiot who modded the parent "Troll".

Get a sense of fucking humor.

Re:It's a me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21806140)

To Brian Lewis,

Go grow a pair

Re:It's a me (1)

Brian Lewis (1011579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806162)

I did not post the "sense of humor" thing, but I do agree. It's a joke. it's funny. laugh.

Re:It's a me (1)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21821372)

Seriously...mod must've thought I was dissing you instead of synergizing your initial funny joke. Hopefully meta-mod will fix that.

Taxing the wrong thing... (3, Interesting)

RocketScientist (15198) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

Brian Lewis (1011579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805568)

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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806240)

This is about Wisconsin. Wisconsin does have state tax.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

Brian Lewis (1011579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806724)

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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808538)

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:Taxing the wrong thing... (2, Informative)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808706)

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_ among those because people with no children contribute to the system's coffers even though they do not use the schools...), but charging Video game taxes is particularly grasping at a revenue source (or potential revenue source) to fund a problem that is not of Video game's making. It forces people who do not have anything to do with the problem to pay for those who do (and frequently would not contribute to the tax itself, if you believe statistics.) I'm sure other taxes people pay in Wisconsin cover the expense in question, but like all political issues, it's never enough money... "new" fees and taxes are always preferable to raising existing ones.

A similar analogy would be to tax people who don't use gasoline a similar use-based tax for riding the bus (in spite of other taxes they pay, in addition to fees to ride pay for their minor use of the road that the state is missing because they don't have a car). It spreads "equity" if you consider being a resident the barometer. It does not, however, address the inequity of burden on the infrastructure.

I need a beer. :)

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805588)

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).

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

RocketScientist (15198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21807060)

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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21807424)

no, I don't send mine to public school. I have four of them. We educate them in our home, but I'm still paying for the other brats in the neighborhood to go to school. Justice? Oh yeah, that distorted version of law and order called "social justice". Take from Peter to give to Paul. It's call thievery.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812270)

Homeschooling sacrifices social development for academic development.

Someday your children will have wonderful school records and be completely unable to function in society. From there it's all roses: depression, drug abuse, crime, alcoholism, suicide.

I hope it was worth it.

Love, Anonymous

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

Faylone (880739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21807700)

Well, there's homeschooling, and what's up with kiddie pools, wouldn't that be covered by those who actually use them?

You were... (2, Funny)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805846)

Kids were always screaming, obnoxious brats. Not all of them, but not all of them are today.

There should be a GetOffMyLawn moderation.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (2, Funny)

Hellpop (451893) | more than 6 years ago | (#21807478)

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.

Your future... Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

PongStroid (178315) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808196)

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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808302)

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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808868)

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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21809166)

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 get a house paid for by the state is be on a waiting list till you get to the top and then the state pays all your rent checks for you.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 5 years ago | (#21809382)

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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

suraklin (28841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21814318)

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.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21812364)

Direct taxation works best. Tax the people who contribute to the juvenile delinquincy problem: Parents. Tax all crotchfruit.
That's not direct taxation. Direct taxation would be taxing the parents of juvenile delinquents; perhaps the first conviction knocks out your child tax credit and each one after that adds the amount of the credit as a tax. I take as dim a view of modern "parenting" as you do, but there's no reason to replace one unfair tax with another.

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.
A bit offtopic but perhaps it might encourage parents to properly raise their children if our society wasn't quite so accepting of shitty parenting. If it was common for parents to be asked to leave the establishment if their children behave like screeching hellspawn (or, alternatively, if confronting parents in public about such behavior was more acceptable) I think we wouldn't have to deal with them so damn much.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812672)

Let me get this straight. You are complaining about obnoxious brats, yet you actually use the term "crotchfruit"?

Your parents failed you, it seems.

Re:Taxing the wrong thing... (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846164)

True. Every well raised child knows the correct term is "sprog".

How much would it make? (4, Insightful)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805594)

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.

Re:How much would it make? (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806146)

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.

Interstate commerce and who could tax it. (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808216)

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 obviously, all this bullshit about the tax being earmarked for certain purposes is a lie. Once the video game tax is in effect, the politicians will use most of it to line their pockets and the pockets of their corporate buddies. The money going to "save the children" my ass...

Is this meant to be "user pays"? (1)

ian_mackereth (889101) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805602)

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...

How is it more expensive for juvie court? (2, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806758)

Seriously here. How can this be more expensive than treating the kids as adults? The kids are in a lower security area (juvie detention), which doesn't cost nearly as much to maintain as similar adult areas. The court costs are less because typically the state will not spend as much money in lab work/analysis/expert witnesses, etc., since they will at most only put the kid away until he/she is 25, and there is normally only just a Judge, no jury, so daily costs for keeping the jury do not exist (food/drink, and if sequestered, housing and transportation). So again, how is this going to cost the state more?

I can see them wasting some money in the short term for cases that are already partially processed having to now be shifted back to juvie and started over, but that is probably only a few hundred cases at most and will be a one time cost... A cost that will be recovered shortly due to the reductions in other areas.

Re:How is it more expensive for juvie court? (1)

pi_rules (123171) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808976)

Seriously here. How can this be more expensive than treating the kids as adults?


Therapy, probation, rehab, "just one more chance," coordination with school employees, yada yadda yadda.

There's a myriad of things that a juvenile can go through before they just toss their butt into a cell. It's a last resort. With adults it's the only option if you can't pay for your own rehab, probation, or therapy.

Re:How is it more expensive for juvie court? (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21824300)

Or you can be the daughter of Asian immigrants in Kansas with no record and on the honor-roll, having defended yourself in a knife fight from a sexually abusive mother. [pitch.com] And have the district attorney who used your case to catapult himself to state-wide office claim that sex abuse is a cultural issue.

Neither correlation nor causation (4, Insightful)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:Neither correlation nor causation (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805690)

I would say yes on all accounts.

Re:Neither correlation nor causation (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Neither correlation nor causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21806688)

is it nothing more than ... targeting a group of people who don't vote?
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.
That sounds a lot like a yes. Age really is a factor in why gamers tend not to vote.

Re:Neither correlation nor causation (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808492)

No, it sounds like a significant number of voters don't buy games. Again, the Slashdot crowd is not Joe Sixpack. Not everyone is buying games. It's a known fact that the average gamer is well over the legal voting age. (Why do we have to keep beating this fact into peoples heads?) There simply isn't enough of them to make a difference.

Re:Neither correlation nor causation (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21807020)

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 is also this here Tariff or quota or whatever you'd like to call it on imported sugar that artificially inflates the price of real sugar in the US. Originally, I believe, this was to help the corn industry, but the regulations were never lifted. And now our nation is getting even larger...

Re:Neither correlation nor causation (1)

jmauro (32523) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808064)

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.

Re:Neither correlation nor causation (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812430)

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 with this dumb thing because he buys in to the Jack Thompson mentality; games are played by kids and cause kids to go bad.

Re:Neither correlation nor causation (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806674)

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.

17 is considered adult in Wisconsin (2, Interesting)

antaeus (585293) | more than 6 years ago | (#21805936)

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 backhanded way of equating video games and criminality. It will likely make for a few ticker mentions on CNN, adding to our image of hokiness, and then slip away. But this being Wisconsin (largely a conservative state, with the exception of its population centers in Milwaukee and the 'People's Republic of Madison'), it could end up getting a lot of attention for a while.

Spectacularly, awesomely retarded (2, Insightful)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Spectacularly, awesomely retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21809862)

You're missing the biggest question of all - why is our criminal justice system divided age rather than possibility of rehabilitation? With a juvenile who can be tried as an adult, the decision is made to send the offender to the adult system only if its felt that they can't be rehabilitated (or if the crime is extremely heinous). Suddenly, at age 18 though, everyone is sent to rot.

to pay for what? (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806282)

Never mind that rates of nonviolent crimes, just like violent crime, have dropped steadily as videogames have become increasingly popular.

Re:to pay for what? (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808732)

How the hell are people supposed to commit crimes when they spend 60 hours a week playing World of Warcraft?

Re:to pay for what? (1)

jherrick (247525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21823120)

You spend 60 hours a week playing WOW?

Noob.

Re:to pay for what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21813836)

Correlation is not causation.

Correlation vs. causation (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21816044)

Correlation is not causation


Nobody said that it was. But while correlation does not imply causation, causation does imply correlation. So while the statistical data does not prove that videogames reduce crime (although it is at least consistent with that hypothesis), it does prove that any supposed crime-inducing effect of videogames is so small that it is completely swamped by other social and demographic factors influencing crime rates.

Wisconsin taxes everything (1)

harryk (17509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806368)

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 wrong, though. If you really wanted/needed to generate revenue, I'd be more for a increase in the state sales tax so that it taxes all goods (not just video games) equally.

my 2 cents.

Re:Wisconsin taxes everything (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21812126)

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?

Sadly, I'm guessing this move has relatively little to do with morality and everything to do with improving one's own political outlook by "criminalizing" the video game industry.

If they want to attack cause and effect... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806394)

Add it to the booze tax, or the gasoline tax, or something else that's got a relationship to the problem.

Say what? (3, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21806584)

[...] 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.

 

ob (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21807858)

I hope they don't use too much cinnamon; some people find it overpowering.

Not here (1)

Tailsfan (1200615) | more than 5 years ago | (#21808520)

Well, It is not where I live.
Starts humming Taxman

My comments, and I'll make this simple. (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21811508)

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.

TELL This Senator ........ (1)

dmackey828 (945001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21813322)

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!!

I've got a better idea (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21814762)

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.

Facts from the article (1)

sinner6 (884407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831672)

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 taxed state. So the money might already be available 5% sales tax and top income tax rate of 6.75%, it is 6.5% for most people. http://www.revenue.wi.gov/faqs/pcs/taxrates.html [wi.gov]
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