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Pennsylvania wants to tax violent video games

By onetheycallEric · 29 replies
Feb 11, 2019
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  1. A lawmaker from Pennsylvania is seeking to resurrect a bill from 2018 that would see an excise tax of 10 percent placed on mature rated games, or otherwise "violent" titles.

    HB 109 as it's now known, is similarly worded to its failed predecessor. The imposed tax would be in addition to state and local taxes, and could see the price of a new game increase to as much as $70. The newly collected taxes would be appropriated to the Digital Protection for School Safety Account, which according to the bill's wording, is established for the "purpose of enhancing school safety measures implemented by school districts."

    Republican Chris Quinn, who also introduced the bill last year, is sponsoring the bill again. Quinn stated last year that he believes there's a link between violent video games and the rise of school shootings, where kids "act out" what they see in video games. Quinn also introduced Act 44 of 2018, which greatly overhauled requirements for schools in the sate of Pennsylvania, but he feels there's more that can be done at a state level.

    The Entertainment Software Association is taking a hardened stance against it, however, as they usually do. In a statement to Variety, the ESA put it rather bluntly.

    “The U.S. Supreme Court made clear in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association & Entertainment Software Association that video games are entitled to the full protection of the Constitution, and that efforts, like Pennsylvania’s, to single out video games based on their content will be struck down,” the ESA said. “Numerous authorities — including scientists, medical professionals, government agencies, and the US Supreme Court — found that video games do not cause violence. We encourage Pennsylvania legislators to work with us to raise awareness about parental controls and the ESRB video game rating system, which are effective tools to ensure parents maintain control over the video games played in their home.”

    The ESA went on to call the bill “a violation of the U.S. Constitution.” Quinn's HB 109 was modeled after a similar bill proposed in Rhode Island that would've levied a 10 percent tax on violent video games, and then use the collected taxes to fund mental health programs.

    Permalink to story.

  2. xxLCxx

    xxLCxx TS Addict Posts: 231   +153

    While this will likely create a 'shîtstorm', I do believe this to be a good idea. Even more so, they should use the money to stimulate non-violent gaming.
    To all who will shout censorship and whatnot, you probably don't have much contact with today's youth in 'the Western hemisphere'. Talk to nursery and primary school teachers. You have no idea how f***ed up many little kids (boys in particular) arrive there. Insisting on PG-18, R and such, doesn't help.
    There are little kids showing each other videos of people being murdered in various ways (beheading). Their parents - who don't make enough for a decent living - are supposed to guard them 24/7, which they can't. The teachers (who can't make a decent living either) are supposed to keep a watch on 30 critters, which they can't either. All the while, your government is investing in arms to ensure that this situation will only worsen...
    Jeff Re likes this.
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,580   +5,139

    They need to consider taxing micro-transactions. And leave rating specific titles alone. Micro-transactions is where the money seems to be.
    Clamyboy74 likes this.
  4. skellking1

    skellking1 TS Rookie

    This is a little much... are we going to start taxing violent TV shows and movies as well?? Maybe give out fines to parents who get angry and violent around their children?? The real issue is not violent content, it is the lack of censorship by parents. Violent content has been around for as long as video media has existed. I know personally that I was never allowed to view violent content of any kind without parental consent. The real issues are being swept under the rug and pinned on a scapegoat.
    lipe123, Milest, PEnnn and 4 others like this.
  5. xxLCxx

    xxLCxx TS Addict Posts: 231   +153

    What kind of smartphone did you have? ;-)
  6. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,240   +1,672

    The problem is the family unit not the type of games that are being played.
    Milest, PEnnn, viperfl and 2 others like this.
  7. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 624   +1,256

    The money will simply get spent elsewhere (such as the annual pension / expenses raise by and for the same lawmakers introducing the bill). It always does.

    Whilst I agree, that's simply an extension of what most people have known for years - the most violent stuff of all that has the lasting impact with daily bombardment isn't video games, it's the "if it bleeds, it leads" tabloid news (for which social media is just an unregulated even more click-baity extension of).
    Milest, treetops and btfsttg like this.
  8. skellking1

    skellking1 TS Rookie

    I didn't have a smartphone back then lol. I do see your point in asking that though. Maybe some parental controls associated with the device as I'm sure it would be on the parents account. Just a matter of actually utilizing the controls at that point.
  9. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 850   +386

    Define "Violent". One could argue that Super Mario Bros. on the NES is violent. You frequently need to jump on top of enemies, crushing them to death or incinerate them with fireballs.
    btfsttg likes this.
  10. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 4,135   +1,218

    Swiftian 'modest' proposal - BAN everything. Make them play chess. Homework will be more entertaining than that. Think of all the homework which will get done. Little geniuses everywhere, thanks to the ban.
    btfsttg likes this.
  11. btfsttg

    btfsttg TS Rookie Posts: 27   +17

    Ban all the things! Ban errything but what I do!
  12. cmc487

    cmc487 TS Rookie

    I do not believe this will resolve the violence at schools , 'cause firstly those games are developed for a specific age (18+) , but the parents are not doing their job right, then there's an issue. The state just want to make money our of it since there's a public that doesn't like those games, increasing taxes on the games will cause an increase on its prices only . Goverment can do better than that to resolve that situation ..
    PEnnn likes this.
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,193   +2,476

    If they want to raise money, legalize pot.

    IMO, it goes deeper than this. There is aggressive behavior all over the place right now and not just kids shooting up schools. If you ask me, the foundations of this are in the fundamental problems in society, especially, winner-take-all economic systems. The aggressive behavior is a symptom of the deeper problems, IMO.

    As I see it, politicians are not willing to look any further than the easiest possible explanation for society's problems in part because they would have to come to grips with how f'd up things really are. They would have to entertain how they have been and are part of the problem rather than the solution. Treating a symptom of the disease to alleviate the disease is perhaps far worse than looking for the root cause of the disease from the simple fact that treating the symptom has a tendency to mask the disease and make it appear that the disease, itself, is gone.

    There were school shootings well before the video game era was a twinkle in the cathode-ray tube amusement device creator's eye. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathode-ray_tube_amusement_device
    PEnnn likes this.
  14. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 942   +523

    Increase the price of violent guns (the ones that have been or could be connected to school murders) by 10% and use that money towards whatever amazing things that the government cannot afford to do currently.
    Tax all parents a further 10% all because 0.00001% of parents allowed their kids to commit school violence.
    Fine the parents 10 years of salary if their kids commit school violence. And then fine the kids 10 years of salary after they reach a working age (if they are still alive).

    So many options. All obviously garbage, yet equally as valid as the Pennsylvania Lawmaker's suggestion.

    Let's try something more productive: Education.
    Educate children in the schools on the difference between games and reality. In a game, you can shoot someone and walk away. In reality, you can shoot someone, and your life and your family's lives and the victim's family's lives are irreparably ruined. Explain that in detail. Teach children to respect life and to sort out their differences in useful ways. This is so flipping basic and common sense, I'm surprised it's even needed but if America wants to have a gun culture, then it needs to have gun responsibility as well. Ask the Canadians how they find balance. And, if America wants to make someone pay for all of this, make it the gun lobby. They can't push guns into people's hands and then turn their backs when the triggers get pulled. They need to be leading responsible gun use. Such as: you need to do a course before you can buy a gun. And a refresher course for each and every new gun. And severe punishments for parents if their kids use guns irresponsibly. And here are the ways you can and should maintain a gun in your home. Etc. I'm sure you can think of lots more useful guidelines. Find a balance between informative/useful and draconian.
    If you simply cannot be bothered to make your country a better place, then just do nothing, wait for the murders to happen and then go find someone to blame, in an unending cycle of uselessness. I know all nations are guilty of that in some form or another but that is where the problem is. That's what you need to fix. Video games? Sure. Put them at the bottom of a list of 10 causes and work your way down.
    lipe123 and PEnnn like this.
  15. Duke Sparrow

    Duke Sparrow TS Rookie

    This is ridiculous. The problem of violence in schools and elsewhere is just a symptom of deeper problems in society. Young boys and men use video games as an escape outlet because they don't have the family and social support that they need to succeed. This is about the destruction of the nuclear family, the complete removal of religion and faith from mainstream culture, the popular media attacks on male identity and pride, and of course the celebration of individualism above all else. All of these problems can be traced back to government initiatives and policies, followed of course by more government initiatives and policies to rectify those problems ad nauseum
    Milest and cmc487 like this.
  16. brucek

    brucek TS Maniac Posts: 199   +223

    The causal link between video games and school shootings is poorly demonstrated at best, and, more likely, is non-existent.

    Meanwhile 100% of school shootings have happened at schools. Should these lawmakers suggest banning schools?

    Once they realize that's an obvious no, maybe it's time to admit this proposal is entirely about a) wanting more taxes and b) some people not liking video games and trying to stick it to those who do. There is no reason to believe it will have anything to do with improving school safety.

    It seems like a particularly mean and useless proposal when it taxes virtual guns and ammo (I.e., the kind that can't actually hurt anyone), but not real life guns and ammo (the kinds that can.) Let me guess, the politicians behind this enjoy real life shooting but not video games? Maybe gamers need an organization like the NRA for themselves so we can avoid being bullied by these clowns too.
    wiyosaya and btfsttg like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,767   +836

    I didn't realize an inanimate object could be "violent".
    Milest and btfsttg like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,767   +836

    Too bad we can't tax parents for crappy parenting. That is the leading cause of violent behavior in our youth.

    Unfortunately in the end, you can't tax stupid.
    Milest, PEnnn and btfsttg like this.
  19. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 834   +730

    Video games don’t kill people. People kill people.
    xxLCxx likes this.
  20. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 834   +730

    Isn’t that the lottery?
    xxLCxx likes this.
  21. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 952   +453

    When I play fifa, I sometimes go in rage mode and do sliding tackle from behind completely crashing my opponent. It is very violent even though the game isn't.
    Since the game isn't violent but the actions you might take can be, in state of Pennsylvania there should be a service, agents sent to the homes of people who play fifa and tax them whenever they do violent tackles.
    I would fire whoever came up with this retarded idea. Dumb **nt gets a very good salary and instead of working is just looking for the way to extract money from simple Americans.
    Milest likes this.
  22. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,487   +1,074

    Ah yes, right along side of the tax on other violent media /sarcasm

    Just more ignorant people (lawmakers) who act on feelings instead of reasoning and facts.
    Or they know exactly what they're doing, but is that worse?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    Evernessince likes this.
  23. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,171   +3,773

    Haven't there been tons of studies on this already? From what I recollect, there has been zero evidence to support that violent video games leads to violent people.
    Milest, wiyosaya and Lew Zealand like this.
  24. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,644   +611

    Yet they have no problem about airing documentaries on real serial killers\mass shooters in gruesome detail.... Showing dead bodies, describing murder methods.

    And taxing violent video games is just saying its ok that you are doing something wrong as long as you pay extra for it....

    Furthermore people used to watch public hangings yet did not feel the need to randomly attack their school mates...

    Also you are going to tax imaginary guns? What about real guns? Not that I think taxing solves anything.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  25. viperfl

    viperfl TS Enthusiast Posts: 34   +13

    I remember watching Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs bunny with a shotgun. How about Wild E Coyote being blown up by dynamite. Daffy duck being hit over the head with a hammer.

    Don't blame video games for kids acting out. Blame the family structure. Blame the teachers, politicians, and Hollywood for getting kids confused.
    Milest, PEnnn and OutlawCecil like this.

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