Saturday February 09, 2019

Pennsylvania Legislators Re-introduce Bill to Tax Mature-Rated Video Games

Despite dying by committee back in October, stubborn lawmakers in Pennsylvania have resuscitated House Bill No. 109, which aims to "impose a 10% tax on adult and mature-rated video games sold at retail in addition to any applicable state and local taxes." Supporters such as Rep. Christopher B. Quinn have justified the bill by citing violent acts such as school shootings and research suggesting games increase aggressive behaviors in individuals. The Entertainment Software Association has called the proposal "a violation of the U.S. Constitution."

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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.

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