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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EdwardNygma

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A Democrat controlled state wanting to tax gamers? What a shock...........to no one.

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Thanatos2k

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@edwardnygma: Swing and a miss, Edward.

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TiringPillow

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@Thanatos2k: I respect the commitment to his character.

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Xirtahm

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@edwardnygma: "State representative Chris Quinn, a republican..."

Reading helps.

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James_xeno

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@Xirtahm:

While it is true in this case.. trust me when I say that it's only a matter of chance here, not politics or ideology.. Not in PA state gov at least.

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129260

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@edwardnygma: except it was a republican who suggested it. Learn to read.

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Cayrel

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This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering that Pennsylvania has some of the highest tax rates in the country. They're just looking for more ways to beat money out of state residents.

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jenovaschilld

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Edited By jenovaschilld

Gamers need to get up and vote. Increased voting from millennials would stop idiot bills like these.

Vote Quinn out of office.

Vote any Rep, Dem that back this stupid ass bill, that makes as much sense as the southern border wall and Mikes Pence Bigfoot fence to keep lesbians bigfoots from trying to have sex with him.

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Salt_AU

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A country with the pathetically weak gun laws attempting to blame video games yet again.

6 • 
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R4gn4r0k

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@Salt_AU: It's a known fact that violence didn't exist before videogames.

Crusades, wars, the holocaust, genocides... all of that never happened back before videogames existed.

People were very peaceful and all sat around a campfire singing songs.

9 • 
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KamiNoBeniMizu

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@R4gn4r0k: Isn't it crazy how Pong made the world a frightening and violent place.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@R4gn4r0k: Mind. Blown.

...not from a headshot.

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R4gn4r0k

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@Barighm: xD

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spectreXr1

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Why the heck do they want to keep blaming video games for everything. ..so u put a extra tax on video games but not on the bullets and guns that people use to hurt other people ..they so stupid they just want more money . If u hurting people because of games u got more problems than just the games . Why that tax isn't on violet books or movies or TV shows . Load of shit

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PETERAKO

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There appears to be a sin tax error.

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KamiNoBeniMizu

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@PETERAKO: That's some "dad" level joke stuff. Daaaaaaaaaayum.

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EdwardNygma

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@PETERAKO: Doh lol

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Husker42C

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@PETERAKO: Boooooo

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fatjoe400

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Edited By fatjoe400

Don't let these bloodsucking politicians into this. Have some even proposing heavily taxing bullets. These taxes serve no purpose other than lining their pockets and controlling the populations choices with government backed force.

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darklordvyperx

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This is just stupid. The video game/violence correlation has been debunked multiple times already. People will just leave the state to buy their game.

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James_xeno

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@darklordvyperx:

"The video game/violence correlation has been debunked multiple times already."

Indeed.. But it (and the "fictional ______ causes real _____" fallacies in general) is one of those things that never go away and are always in search of evidence. (i.e. some will never give up trying to prove something no matter how many times it's been attempted or illogical it is just because.... Usually because they don't like/agree with it and can't stand the fact that others do.)

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spectreXr1

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@darklordvyperx: or order online. So stupid ..like this is what they thinking about and concerned about with everything going on in the world

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Lembu90

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Tax the Bible, Torah, Quran, Sutra and other holy books. Not just video games. Tax slasher movies too.

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Lord_Sesshy

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Why should those of us that are of legal age and of sound mind be punished by having to pay more for mature games.

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Xiomata

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Tax guns instead, it’s proven it’s a major part in these school shootings, unlike video games

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KamiNoBeniMizu

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@xiomata: Didn't you hear? A killer smashed the head of his victim with a Xbox once. #Consoleskill

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Thanatos2k

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@kaminobenimizu: The Xbox is the heaviest brick, I can see why it's being used as the weapon of choice.

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KamiNoBeniMizu

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@Thanatos2k: *OHHHHHHHH!!!*

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cheater87

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Video games are free speech, this will be stuck down I hope!

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Soliaired50

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Video games and politics should never mix, just like religion and politics.

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James_xeno

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@soliaired50:

Truth!

Upvote • 
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KamiNoBeniMizu

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@soliaired50: Civilization and Tropico are the results of video games+politics.

It's a fantastic mix!

...

I'll see myself out.

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F-Lambda

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@kaminobenimizu: Gandhi has completed the Manhattan Project.

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Xshinobi

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As long as they do the same for mature books and movies as well. Also, tax religious institutions.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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Edited By GirlUSoCrazy

Great I have my violent "video game law" bingo card ready

Didn't know there were still Jack Thompsons in this world

6 • 
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Virtue777

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Thank you GamerGaters, while you were crying about invisible SJW boogeymen, the real freedom-haters are hard at work and have an R next to their name.

6 • 
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James_xeno

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@Virtue777:

lol Actually believing that members of both sides (esp politicians) aren't just as "freedom" hating in this context. (fictional violence) Plus the left may tiptoe around the issue, always careful to use euphemisms when they talk about it.. ("There's something not 'healthy about this...." or "we don't think it should be banned, just socially impossible to make/sell/buy/use" etc) but they are just as critical of it and sometimes even more vocal. And change violent to sexual and they make the right look like porn advocates currently! Time for people (on both sides) who care about this issue to get off their high horse and stop playing the part of political/ideological shills.

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Thanatos2k

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@Virtue777: Your comment is utterly nonsensical.

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Pyrosa

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@Virtue777: So, so naive and gullible... Try "ALL politicians."

Once in power, every single thing they say and do is entirely based on keeping and gaining power and control over your money. If you actually believe that the "sides" are any different, I have a new tax to propose to you...

6 • 
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bizuit

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@Virtue777: a lot of Republicans in California? The Supreme Court struck down one of their violent video game laws that fined realtors $1000 for selling violent video games to minors.

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Virtue777

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Edited By Virtue777

@bizuit: there were and still are a lot of republicans in California. Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor at the time, a Republican, and he pushed for and signed that violent video game bill that you’re talking about.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.gamesindustry.biz/amp/schwarzenegger-signs-violent-videogames-bill

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bizuit

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@Virtue777: Arnold was a Republican in name only, vast majority of his views are very liberal, starting this millennium California would never elect a conservative Republican

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Soliaired50

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@Virtue777: I didn't know Leland Yee was a Republican and many of Schwarzenegger's views are pretty liberal despite being a registered Republican.

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fatjoe400

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@soliaired50:Bingo. Politics have been screwed up for years now. Have people pretending to be affiliated with party but turn out to have views that are directly opposed with their parties core philosophy. Of course this always happens on the republican side and never on the democrat side. Republicans have done a terrible job over the years explaining their positions and letting the opposing party define who they are.

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Jinzo_111887

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Edited By Jinzo_111887

"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." That's the best solution, but I don't think it's the one they want.

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Xshinobi

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@Jinzo_111887: Nah they need a scapegoat.

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Jinzo_111887

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@xshinobi: I wouldn't be surprised if they're not really interested in solving the problem so much as getting money. However, what's to stop someone from changing their Steam account's address from Pennsylvania to a neighboring state? They probably didn't think about that when they proposed this tax.

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redhedjack

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The Bible is one of the most brutal books ever written.

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NaturallyEvil

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@redhedjack: It's also often credited by insane murderers as the specific reason why they killed people.

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Smosh150

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Edited By Smosh150

"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,"

So you don't know or don't explicitly say so because there is no definitive evidence that backs this claim up, right? This tax is just a way to get easy money for a fund such as that. The ESA actually uses logic instead of spreading misinformation and fear.

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