Violent Video Game Tax Proposed In Pennsylvania

Politicians want to tax violent video games 10% extra.

212 Comments

Lawmakers from Pennsylvania have put forth a bill that proposes a 10% excise tax on violent video games. House Bill 109 seeks to impose the so-called "sin tax" on games sold at retail that are rated by the ESRB as M for Mature or Adults-Only. The money would go into a fund called the "Digital Protection for School Safety Account" that aims to enhance security measures at schools in the wake of the school shootings in Parkland, Florida and Newtown, Connecticut.

State representative Chris Quinn, a republican, initially put forth the bill in 2018, but it never made it out of committee during the 2018 legislative session. The new version is similarly worded.

The 10 percent tax would be in addition to applicable state and local taxes. The sales tax rate in Pennsylvania is 6%, which means a standard $60 game costs around $64. With the extra 10 percent tax on violent games, the cost of an M-rated game like Red Dead Redemption 2 would make the game end up costing about $70.

Explaining the bill last year, Quinn said violent video games might be an element in the rise of school shootings in America. "One factor that may be contributing to the rise in, and intensity of, school violence is the material kids see, and act out, in video games," he said.

Quinn cited the National Center for Health Research's statement that studies demonstrate a link between violent video games and increases in aggressive thoughts and behaviors. Quinn's comments conveniently leave out the same statement's disclaimer that other factors like mental illness, access to weapons, and adverse environments should be considered as other risk factors. Not only that, but the National Center for Health Research's own reporting states that studies have not shown that aggression leads to increased instances of deadly violence or criminal activity.

Expectedly, the Entertainment Software Association, which lobbies on behalf of the video game industry, is taking a hard line against this bill. In a statement to Variety, the ESA the bill is a violation of the US Constitution.

"Numerous authorities--including scientists, medical professionals, government agencies, and the US Supreme Court--found that video games do not cause violence," it said. "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."

After the Sandy Hook shooting, a lawmaker from Connecticut proposed a similar tax in 2013. Also that year, a state representative from Missouri proposed a sales tax on games rated M and above. In both cases, the funds would have gone towards mental health programs. However, the bills never became law.

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twztid13

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Edited By twztid13

Connecticut, Pennsylvania are Democratic controlled states, so a Republican introducing means nothing because it couldn't pass on Republican only votes in those states. Missouri is purple & Republicans only recently won there. The people calling themselves Republican in those states are usually RINO's & lean more left (some call them moderates) & are nowhere close to a traditional, ted cruz or ronald reagan Republican, FYI. Tipper gore is the one who introduced parental advisory & censorship in music & gaming in 90's (rolling a steamroller over a pile of cassettes etc with language they didn't approve of, wanting to ban them outright). Actual Republicans, not those who just use the name, are not for more taxes in any form, fwiw.

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TigerRifle1

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PA is controlled in both chambers by Republicans and has plenty of traditional conservatives. The Arlen Specter's of the state have long been evicted. The sin tax is utilized by both parties, always have been.

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crono71

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@twztid13: Oh "actual" republicans. I guess that's like "actual" Christians. No True Scotsman fallacy nonetheless.

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F-Lambda

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Edited By F-Lambda

@crono71: "No true Scotsman" refers to an ad hoc change to a definition to make the statement remain true, especially when the two statements have no direct relation. In the usual example, drinking tea and ethnicity/nationality have no logical connection, and therefore creating the connection is a fallacy. In this example, however, one's beliefs and one's political party membership (a group of people with similar beliefs) does have a logical connection, so it is not the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

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nakaro_theswift

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@crono71: Just because someone claims to be Republican or Christian doesn't necessarily make them so. Some people are simply confused about who or what they really are.

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dunpeal83

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AO games in retail? Do they even exist?

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cheater87

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@dunpeal83: Not in the US, AO games are banned from retail and consoles, only in digital stores for the computer. So AO games are not affected in the slightest.

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Travis_Crincoli

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@dunpeal83: the BMX XXX game for the ps2 was AO if i recall. Also, hentai games sold in the U.S. are AO.

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dunpeal83

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@Travis_Crincoli: Well of course there are AO games, heck San Andreas even had AO rating, but you don't find many of them in retail shops nowadays. Eroge is either sold directly from a distributor like Mangagamer or Jast or through Steam etc.

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Travis_Crincoli

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@jonesy974: West Virginia is worse.

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lion2447

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"...One factor that may be contributing to the rise in,..."

One factor? May be contributing?

This is not exactly hard evidence that video games are the cause. This is somebody who doesn't like video games and is campaigning to damage them in any way possible. Numerous research has proven that video games are not a direct cause of violence (even beyond the links in the article.) Many forms of media collectively can cause violence, but also simply the upbringing and societal influences of someone can cause them to be more violent. Gamespot even has a previous article about games not leading to increased violence.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/violent-video-games-dont-lead-to-increases-in-viol/1100-6422421/

To pin the problems on "one factor" is just irresponsible, and looks more like gouging that actual helping. Also, as stated in the article, dismissing parts of a study and only using other parts to make a case clearly shows the person/s have no idea what they are talking about and instead just have an agenda they are trying to push.

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ballaShotCaller

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You know people killed each other at lower rates back in the day even though they had guns. That's because they had different values and a different culture.

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DecadentDescent

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I had to chuckle lol

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hyru99

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People just don't want to focus on the REAL issue, and deal with the child's upbringing and parenting. Just like guns don't really kill people, people kill people....video games don't kill people, people kill people.

I have been playing games all my life (36 years old), I never wanted to shoot up nothing. It isn't my right to take anyone's life or put any of my will on anyone else. Blame video games, and YOU ARE A MORON. Plain and simple.

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nakaro_theswift

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@hyru99: Couldn't agree more- I'm 33 been playing 'violent' shoot-em-ups since Wolfenstein and Doom II from the 90s.. - have had absolutely zero leaning or desire to do any harm to anyone whatsoever. So wtf is up with all these bogus claims... there's clearly something else at play as to why these individuals go out and do what they do but to blanket blame video games is dumb as shit.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@hyru99: honestly controlling guns or games is ten million times easier than controlling parenting.

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twztid13

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@PrpleTrtleBuBum: what does that matter? Are you suggesting we should avoid real issues if we can find a scapegoat that's easier to deal with? No substitute for dealing with the real issue, IMHO.

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RetroPlay2

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Edited By RetroPlay2

Someone's sarcasm detector is broken.

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James_xeno

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My fucking state gov is literally the worst on these types of issues and have been for a LONG time. (from both sides) We are a state that up till a short time ago made it totally illegal for a grocery store to sell alcohol at all.. If the store/owner wanted to sell it, they needed to LITERALLY build another building on site that couldn't be connected in any way to the main building.. And even once we finally did away with that needlessly retarded law, things only got a little better.. Now grocery stores can sell alcohol but, like in the case of beer, nothing more than a six pack. Plus there were all kinds of.. just plain insane type of restrictions and details added as well.. (the kind that make you think "someone actually wasted the time to think and write this up and add it into law?!? WTF!?") Like one of my favorites.. When selling alcohol in a grocery store, once the product is rung up by the cashier, (even before you tech pay) no store employee is so much as allowed to even touch it.. yes, even and especially a bag boy. Or that restaurants attached to the main supermarket building in any way (sucks for those in malls) can sell limited amounts under very specific conditions (from the wiki- the restaurant must have a defined separation from the rest of the supermarket, a separate cashier, and seating for at least 30 patrons) And the separate cashier means it can't be part of the bakery or deli etc.

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Spider_Matt1987

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There’s already a system in effect. Games have an age restrictions on them. If kids aren’t old enough to play them, DON’T BUY THEM FOR YOUR KIDS OR LET THEM PLAY THEM.

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s3as3a

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Edited By s3as3a

@spider_matt1987: IF there's anything wrong with violent games for people that are "too young for a certain game", I think it'd be traumatizing them (like how a horror movie would make an elementary-school-aged kid not be able to sleep), but not making them violent.

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starjay009

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Goodness.... how about we tax the idiots who proposed this bill 10% extra ??

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kgsg-19-2

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Just stupidity and ignorance all the way around. How about a tax on stupidity, would make people think twice, sad we're at this point that's not even fully sarcastic. "a republican", shocking......

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twztid13

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@kgsg-19-2: actual Republicans would not vote for new taxes on anything. These people are so called moderates that are grandstanding for their own ego.

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kgsg-19-2

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@twztid13: Yea no shit dude. They would also be against it because they know it would be a tax on republicans that love to use and abuse because they know how stupid and gullible they are. And the only people grandstanding is trump and is ego which he uses twitter for all the time, if you're talking about the Dems you're incredibly misinformed and mislead.

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James_xeno

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@kgsg-19-2:

Trust me, in this age and about this kind of issue, there is no real difference between the sides anymore.. (esp in PA)

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Logan117

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@James_xeno: Dude your an idiot.

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kgsg-19-2

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Edited By kgsg-19-2

@James_xeno: I can understand this point but this is INCREDIBLY wrong. If you still think "both parties are the same" this is just as ignorant and dumb as trump supporters are. Not saying you're an idiot but you REALLY need to catch up on the news (that's not fox news fyi). Call me when the Dems are just as racist as the gop, climate change deniers, locking in and torturing kids in cages, wrapped up in election fraud, illegal voting manipulation, white supremacist and nazi enablers, taking money away from federal workers through a shutdown, destroying entire areas and industries from trump's and the gop's lies and tariffs, brainwashing an entire group through fox news and such propaganda, destroying America and Democracy through divisiveness, has confirmed links to russia through indictments, and I could go on and on and on, etc etc.

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James_xeno

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@kgsg-19-2:

You do realize that most of that is Dem a/o hard leftist talking points and outright propaganda? (as stated at least)

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kgsg-19-2

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@James_xeno: Not sure what exact comment you're replying to (too old, too many comments), but what I think should be done is based on my own thinking and good research. I read the news and what is actually happening to know what is happening, and I form my own opinions, beliefs, and see what needs to be done. What you construe as "left" news, or "propaganda", or "fake news", or that the "news media is the enemy of the people" is propaganda in itself. You've unknowingly or knowingly bought into that, you're a hypocrite. You've bought into what the gop, trump, and fox news and such has trying to do and has been doing this entire time and this is a big problem that needs to be fixed in the future.

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twztid13

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@kgsg-19-2: wow, Obama started locking kids in cages & every single pic was from the Obama admin. Hard to take someone like you seriously.

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kgsg-19-2

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@twztid13: How shit, you actually believe ALL that and you have the balls and pretend to think you have a brain and say, "hard to take someone like you seriously". Not only is this incredibly false but you willfully ignored everything else that's absolute shit about the gop and you even know about it but don't have a problem w/ it. You're first reaction is to attack the Dems because fox news told you that's who to hate and you're too dumb and gullible to realize it. You know, the problem w/ this country is people like you who don't read the news and are nothing but brain dead zombie cultist fanboys who suck the farts out of trump's ass and love it. This is why people don't have respect for you.

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RetroPlay2

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Edited By RetroPlay2

@twztid13: Have you read the beginning, "Call me when..."?

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DAOWAce

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..Absolute imbeciles.

Better tax violent movies and books too. /s

The problem is mental health, not the media available to consumers.

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southsouthsac

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Excellent. It's about time that we did something. The added revenues from this proposed tax will do a lot of good, and may even be able to help solve climate change.

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Ariel_G

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@southsouthsac: Thumbs up for you, pal

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nakaro_theswift

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@ariel_g: he was being sarcastic -.-

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Ariel_G

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@nakaro_theswift: I know. The thumbs up was for that sarcasm

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pharoe777

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@southsouthsac: Love the sarcasm.... you nearly had me, but "climate change" gave it away, good one sir!

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kgsg-19-2

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@southsouthsac: I'm all for solving climate change but this is a terrible idea.

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untouchables111

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see this is why it pays to play games on PC...tax away.. ill never have to pay it....

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RetroPlay2

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...Except piracy is more harmful to the industry than baseless discussions on whether games influence people.

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korpdawg

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@untouchables111:

First they came...

We're all in this together.

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CyberJordan

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And they wouldn't 'act it out' if they didn't have access to guns would they? A pathetic attempt by Mr Quinn to cover for his gun loving friends no doubt.

Pennsylvania should sink this bill without further delay.

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MasterFrankGrimes

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@cyberjordan: Access to guns isn't the problem. Violent video games aren't the problem. Parents who don't do a thing for their children other than give birth to them is the problem.

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Hagan

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I hope this doesn't go through! I live in PA

I don't think Mr. Quinn will have much success with it.

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