Oklahoma House considering violent games tax

A new Oklahoma bill proposes an extra 1% tax on T, M, and AO games, offering the extra revenue generated to combat child obesity and bullying.

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A new bill before the Oklahoma State Legislature proposes an additional tax on Teen, Mature, and Adults Only games. Bill HB 2696 was proposed by Representative William Fourkiller, and would put the extra revenue generated by the tax to go towards programs aimed at solving bullying and childhood obesity.

The bill (via GameSpot) was introduced last month. It will be read on the House floor by next Monday and, if adopted, would put an extra 1% tax on T, M, and AO games as early as July 1. Money would then be given to the Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund and the Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund.

Fourkiller suggests this would be a step towards "awareness" of the problems presented by violent video games. He says he was particularly shocked by the existence of Bully, since he had seen school bullying first-hand. He says he believes "after hours and hours of watching the screen, playing [Grand Theft Auto], being that person and taking on that role, people get desensitized."

Opponents of the bill say that it unfairly targets video games, as opposed to other violent media like music, TV shows, and movies.

This is coming less than a year after the Supreme Court ruled that video games are protected free speech. However, the California bill that sparked that case attempted to restrict violent video games to minors entirely, while this one will simply raise the prices for those buying the games. It's hard to say if the Supreme Court would find that its first amendment protection applies here.

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  • reply
    February 2, 2012 4:30 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Oklahoma House considering violent games tax.

    A new Oklahoma bill proposes an extra 1% tax on T, M, and AO games, offering the extra revenue generated to combat child obesity and bullying.

    • reply
      February 2, 2012 4:36 PM

      If I just forgo the tax and send them five bucks can I push someone down and call them fat?

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      February 2, 2012 5:18 PM

      Wait...as an adult who plays video games why am I being taxed extra because parents don't monitor their children properly?

      This might make more sense if other medias (magazines, movies, books) had this "Help the children!" Tax on Naughty Content. But they don't.

      Now if you want to merge a game tax into my medical insurance, then you might have something...

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      February 2, 2012 5:18 PM

      An extra 1% ain't bad. Hell, up here in NY we have an 8% tax in place already, which is pretty high. 9% wouldn't kill me, it'd just mean I'd have to reconfigure my game buying plans. Especially considering the tax is going to a good cause, I see no issue with this.

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        February 2, 2012 5:26 PM

        I can't lol this enough.

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        February 2, 2012 9:26 PM

        This is a troll right.........

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          February 3, 2012 5:34 PM

          Nope, just a reasonable person.

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            February 3, 2012 6:15 PM

            Reasonable? If I wanted to give my money to that cause, I would give it to them. I don't need the government stepping in and telling ME where MY money is going to go! It is that simple! Reasonable my ass.

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      February 2, 2012 5:20 PM

      They're going to need way, way more money than what this tax would raise to make any kind of dent in either of those areas.

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      February 2, 2012 5:32 PM

      Start yelling discrimination. See if Jesse Jackson will come help out.

    • reply
      February 2, 2012 5:35 PM

      Good Lord, this is the sort of shit people point to when they talk about government overreach and stupid taxes.

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      February 2, 2012 6:09 PM

      Can the case be made that video games (not just violent ones) have helped kids become increasingly more sedentary? If the link can be made, and they taxed all video games as well as kids TV stations I'm not sure I personally would have a problem with this.

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        February 2, 2012 8:09 PM

        "Our results indicate that video game use, which has been much less studied, is strongly related to children’s weight status. [...] We found a fairly strong relationship between time spent playing electronic games and
        children’s weight status."

        The entire study is worth reading: http://medi506.pbworks.com/f/sdarticle-3.pdf

        This is really interesting. They found no link between TV watching and obesity, and no link between adolescents playing games. But they did find a somewhat substantial link with younger children playing games.

        Are there any other more recent, freely available studies that someone could point me to?

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          February 2, 2012 9:12 PM

          [deleted]

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          February 2, 2012 9:26 PM

          So educate parents that if kids sit around playing games all day and eat too much they will get fat, don't tax games. It's a ridiculous conclusion to draw.

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            February 3, 2012 8:09 AM

            Our entire tax system is based on the idea that education alone isn't enough, you need financial motivations as well. That's why we have tax credits and deductions.

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          February 2, 2012 9:29 PM

          I have a 4 year old son that plays about 2 hours a day if he "makes a happy face"(he's in pre-k) at school. He jumps around and is all over the place acting out scenes from the games and such while he is playing. He is more active playing games than he is outside playing in the grass!

          With that said, he is thin. Nowhere near fat, let alone obese.

          If he wasn't so active or was just plain sitting on his ass getting fat, believe me, as a parent I would make him go do something more active. It is the parents responsibility to make sure the youth is growing up right!

          As a gamer, this potential new tax infuriates me! There is no reason I should have this tax. None.

          • reply
            February 2, 2012 9:33 PM

            Don't worry, the government will decide what's best for your child, and charge you for the privilege.

    • reply
      February 2, 2012 6:18 PM

      [deleted]

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      February 2, 2012 6:25 PM

      Because the only things to do in Oklahoma are play video games and make fun of fat kids.

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        February 2, 2012 6:36 PM

        As someone living in Oklahoma I can confirm this.

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          February 2, 2012 6:40 PM

          So what games do you play fatty?

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            February 2, 2012 6:51 PM

            Skyrim! And SPAZ more recently. I have BF3 too but I haven't played in awhile.

            Oh, and I am a skinny white dude. :-/

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              February 2, 2012 7:00 PM

              SPAZ is really underated and fun, it's not as in depth as Star Control, but it is definitely worth the admission price.

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                February 2, 2012 7:05 PM

                Yeah I still haven't gotten Star Control, but I heard about it because of SPAZ.

                The only things I don't like about SPAZ right now are (slight spoilers):

                1. Lack of Coop, this game would be perfect for campaign coop and it seems like it would be somewhat easy to implement.
                2. End quest ends the game, and you can't just explore around with your upgraded ships.
                3. Storyline is meh, not bad but it leaves you hanging and feeling like it was all just a waste of time.

                Otherwise its a great formula for a space sim. I really like how they did the weapons systems, it works pretty seamlessly.

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                  February 2, 2012 7:06 PM

                  Oh man if the game had coop I would probably not stop playing.

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                    February 2, 2012 7:10 PM

                    Its my hope that with SPAZ 2 in pre planning stages that they take coop into consideration, they have hinted that it would be multiplayer focused, which would be fun. But I love me some good coop games.

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          February 2, 2012 6:56 PM

          Fucking seconded. Where do you live? I'm outside of Tulsa.

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            February 2, 2012 7:00 PM

            Just outside of OKC in Edmond. Rich kids everywhere. And alot of crazy people, but I like it here.

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              February 2, 2012 7:17 PM

              I hate it here. There's so many backwoods ignorant rednecks and bible-thumping conservative fearmongers.

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                February 2, 2012 7:24 PM

                I just like it because of the suburb feel and layout. I don't like cities, I feel lost in them. Plus I grew up here, so nostalgia is definitely part of the reason I want to stay.

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            February 2, 2012 9:12 PM

            I'm right here in Tulsa

        • reply
          February 2, 2012 8:36 PM

          wait you live here too? what the fuck

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        February 2, 2012 8:39 PM

        Moore, OK. Boooooring.

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          February 2, 2012 8:44 PM

          Except for those tornados. Those are exciting.

        • reply
          February 3, 2012 7:30 AM

          I'm in Moore too booooooooooooooooo

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      February 2, 2012 6:52 PM

      What I want to know is what asshole, and what stupid reasoning, led to the idea that video games were the #1 thing to target with this instead of fast food or cigarettes or whatever other number of things that video games are apparently as bad as.

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        February 2, 2012 6:59 PM

        Because if you put an extra tax on the fast food (which IS actually part what is making us fat) that would be "COMMUNIST SOCALIST PIGS TRYING TO RUIN 'MERIUKA AND CAPTALISM!!!"

        For some reason video games do not fall under the same social protection. Why? Go figure.

    • reply
      February 2, 2012 7:11 PM

      [deleted]

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      February 3, 2012 8:59 AM

      Man what the fuck is wrong with politicians?

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      February 3, 2012 11:44 AM

      How increasing taxes on senators and congressmen who propose those kinds of ridiculous bills? And all the ones who backed SOPA/PIPA.

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