Pennsylvania legislators introduce video game ‘sin tax’ bill

    
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Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced a bill that seeks to institute a tax on mature-rated video games sold in the state. House Bill 109 would levy a 10% tax on mature-rated games — in addition to any other local taxes — that would be used to contribute toward the new Digital Protection for School Safety Account, the funds from which would be spent to “enhance safety measures in Pennsylvania school districts.”

Representative Christopher B. Quinn, who introduced a version of the bill in 2018, suggests exposure to violent video games as a potential cause for recent trends of increased violence in schools, including such atrocities as the Parkland school shooting.

Of course, as a recent article on Philly.com points out, scientific research has found no reliable link between exposure to violent video games and violent crime. And beyond that, the Entertainment Software Association is taking up arms against the bill, calling it “a violation of the US constitution.” The bill has apparently been “referred to the House Finance Committee and is still pending discussion and a vote.”

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Straw Berry

They still don’t realize it? Yeah, keep teaching atheism and violence is the result. Even casual Christianity that has been dominant from 1900-2000 was enough to keep people on check. Now were in the age of social decay. Not only that. The news is the one reporting all the shootings…that alone glorifies the shootings. Wheres the news coverage on missing children? wheres the news on car thefts? or even better, wheres the good news? where people succeed and do great things?

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Tired of people in government positions using the ‘video games cause violence’ excuse.

As a previously abused child, who was the victim of actual violence (My father threatened to shoot my mother, among other things he did to all of his children, something he learned from his father, and his father learned from his, back down the chain, because abuse/violence is often related to familial matters/passed down in families until someone breaks the cycle.), I’ve used games as an escape to avoid acting out tendencies that were learned due to his actions/the twisted lines of thinking he taught me.

I use games to interact with others, as a way to engender trust and helpful behavior. I gingerly/timidly reach out towards others and often have my metaphorical/figurative hands slapped back.

To this day, I still reach out with hope that there are still decent people out there, and every so often I’m rewarded with a bit of happiness, as I find someone just going about their day/having a fun time and we discuss things randomly. (I toss out helpful advice, and they return the favor..)

Video games cause joy. They let people escape from the atrocities life sometimes puts upon us. Those who want to thwart games or push this mantra of ‘Games are bad’ are probably just people who’ve never found a game they enjoyed.

Can I see putting a ‘tax’ on perhaps adult related (M for mature…well, most games that have any violence at all fall under that M rating, even if they aren’t even ‘adult’ content)…sure, maybe. There’s taxes on all sorts of things, and I’m not afraid of funding the betterment of society with taxes. But do I think this tax is being used for that, and not just as a prop/hit piece? No.

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Anthony Clark

Idiots in charge

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Dankey Kang

>sin tax
>picture of TERA

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

This is of course a silly reason to raise taxes, but hey, you always have an option of voting for a different person. Or just moving to other place where you have better options in terms of elected officials ;-)
Every of those options is better than pointless arguing on interwebs ;-)

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Aaron Weddle

there is no better options in terms of elected officials America is just generally fucked

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Crowe

I can’t support a bill like that. Now if it was targeted at lockbox games, I’d be all for suggesting 10% was just a starting point.

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Schmidt.Capela

I wonder if those politicians are aware that getting a game rated is optional, and that many digital stores — including Steam, as well as all online stores dedicated to mature games I know about — don’t require games sold through them to be rated. In fact many publishers of cross-platform games don’t even bother getting the PC version rated, which is why you rarely see any reference to a game’s ESRB rating on Steam.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Tax me daddy.

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Sorenthaz

I feel like this was only a matter of time. Digital purchases are also getting taxed now in states (including mine). Hopefully it doesn’t go total drugs/alcohol mode where they tax the hell out of video games and try to create a bunch of propaganda about how games are evil/etc.

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Jack Pipsam

How would this logistically work on a state level, surely it could only apply to retail? Even then the computer systems at the retailers would need to have some kind of extra work so someone can input specific games to get flagged for the tax.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

yeah, it’s a non-starter of legislation because the required implementation is expensive, not to mention the violation of that pesky first amendment that seems to get in the way of clueless elected officials passing whatever hogwash they want.

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Kenneth Portner

Wow! Taxing entertainment products violates the First Amendment? You should tell book sellers, newspapers, magazines, movie theaters, concerts, sports teams, cable tv providers. They’d be really interested in hearing that.!

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

The problem isn’t that they’d be taxed as a trade good but that they’d be taxed specifically for their content. Hence why it’s not going to go anywhere.

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Schmidt.Capela

Taxing entertainment differently based on which kind of content is featured in order to incentive or disincentive said specific content is a First Amendment violation, according to a previous SCOTUS decision.