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by FiveBoxes Staff | 2008-02-22 10:47 

Lawmakers in New Mexico have decided that video games are bad, and parents aren’t doing their jobs and encouraging kids to go out and play rather than spend their afternoons getting to the next level. So what’s a government to do? Raise taxes, of course:

“Stop sitting in front of the TV and go outside to play” – a phrase commonly said by parents whenever their children settle to watch a television program or play a videogame. It is usually up to the parents to motivate their children towards a particular behavior, but now the state of New Mexico would like to intervene.

The New Mexico legislature introduced House Bill 583, championed by Representative Gail Chasey, which essentially imposes an excise tax on televisions, videogame software and hardware. Specifically, consumers of such products will have to pay an extra 1 percent tax on purchases in addition to the gross receipts tax and other applicable state or federal tax.

CrunchGear has a good take on it:

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over and over again, it’s that you can’t tax people into changing their ways. They’ll still buy cigarettes, gas, and booze, but instead of buying less, they’ll just curse the government and vote for Ron Paul. New Mexico, though, hasn’t learned, as some of its lawmakers are pushing a bill to tax TV and videogames, hoping the higher cost of the fun will force kids to get more exercise.

And who stands to benefit from the taxes? Why, a special-interest group, of course. Of course, Representative Chasey will expect “payback” in the form of votes on election day. As I wrote a month ago:

Does the Sierra Club stand to profit from these taxes? Yes it does. And will they, in turn, vote en masse for the lawmaker who helped line their wallets with tax dollars? You bet they will.

The only way to eradicate this behavior is to eliminate the power of special interest groups. And the only way to do that is to make politics a civic duty again, and not a career.

Congressional term limits anyone?

New Mexico residents: use The Mailbox to contact your state legislators, and tell them that it’s your job to be the parent, not theirs.

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