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Oklahoma The Latest State to pin Problems On Video Games, Proposes Sin Tax
- Updated: February 8, 2012
Fat kids? Bullies? Oklahoma legislation is blaming these societal problems on video games, and wants to slap a sin tax on anything rated teen and up.
An Oklahoma legislator is proposing a ‘what about the children?’ bill (HB 2696) that aims to tax violent video games. Former schoolteacher and current Democratic member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, William T. Fourkiller, wants to levy an excise tax rate of one percent on the sale of violent video games; because these games supposedly spawn the obese bullies which plague our society.
“Violent video games contribute to some of our societal problems like obesity and bullying, but because they raise a lot of revenue, they can also provide part of the solution,” Fourkiller told Oklahoma City’s KFOR.
A sense of urgency surrounds HB 2696 as it has been pushed under the emergency heading; Fourkiller says its necessary for the “preservation of the public peace, health and safety.” The tax’s goals seem to be genuine, and not simply intended to fatten the government wallet. The money gained from HB 2696 will go directly to curing Oklahoma children of the socially undesirable gaming sins which the bill is attacking; half of the money will go towards the Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund, and the other half will go towards the Childhood Outdoor Education Fund.
“A gentleman shot a police officer and stole his car,” Fourkiller points out. “He had been playing Grand Theft Auto.”
A glaring problem with the bill is that it seems to be geared towards a vague swath of video games in its definition: “’Violent video game’ means a video or computer game that has received a rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board of Teen, Mature or Adult Only.” That means, aside from obvious games like Fallout, Bully, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, the bill would be taxing games like Beatles Rock Band, You Don’t Know Jack and The Sims 3; though according to the KFOR piece, Fourkiller says he isn’t targeting the video game industry….