Missouri legislator proposes violent game tax

Sin tax on games rated T and higher would pay to treat "mental health conditions associated with exposure" to violent games

A Missouri legislator is pushing for a sin tax on violent video games. Representative Diane Franklin, a Republican from northeast of Springfield, introduced House Bill 157 this week, calling for a 1 percent sales tax to be levied on violent games immediately.

The measure defines violent games as "a video or computer game that has received a rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board of Teen, Mature, or Adult Only." It makes no exceptions for games that bear those ratings for reasons aside from violent content. The bill also specifies that all money derived from the tax would be used exclusively "for the treatment of mental health conditions associated with exposure to violent video games."

Franklin has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, which responded to last month's Newtown school shooting by derding violent games as a culturally corrosive influence on kids. Franklin also this week introduced a resolution encouraging every high school in Missouri to add trap shooting as a sports program.

The Entertainment Software Association issued a statement in response, pointing to its 2011 Supreme Court victory and calling such measures unconstitutional.

"Taxing First Amendment protected speech based on its content is not only wrong, but will end up costing Missouri taxpayers," the ESA said.

The industry trade group has been awarded more than $3 million in reimbursed legal fees after it prevailed in various court battles over violent game laws.

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Latest comments (12)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
Another idiot.
And people even voted for her.
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Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software5 years ago
@Bruce: This is Missouri. Their state slogan is: "The Show Me State". They have yet to ever show me they can do any kind of critical thinking. I lived in Missouri for 3 years, while St. Louis is somewhat nice, the attitudes and political climes are, to put it mildly: completely whacked out. Leave St. Louis and things get even more whacked out. They are definitely all about God, Guns and Jesus there, and it reflects at the polls for the most part. Then there was Todd Akin, mister "Legitimate Rape", who lost by double digits because of his willful, hurtful ignorance.

Missouri is not dealing with a full deck here. Also, you can't sin tax a game, it will get crushed on 1st Amendment Grounds if it does manage to pass. Sadder still, is the taxpayers who will have to foot the bill for the court battle, that will ultimately result in a loss for the state.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher McCraken on 16th January 2013 5:01pm

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Dean Kortenhoven Gaming and Tech News Writer 5 years ago
Since there has not been a single study conducted to date that shows any correlation between exposure to violent games and violent behavior, how are they going to determine that the treatment of the mental health condition was necessary do to exposure to violent video games?
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Show all comments (12)
Steve Peterson Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
She's just trying to find a way to pay for her treatment.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London5 years ago
"The bill also specifies that all money derived from the tax would be used exclusively "for the treatment of mental health conditions associated with exposure to violent video games.""
At least if the bill goes through they'll have a bank account full of unused funds they can use to pay the ESA's legal bills when they lose the case in court...
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Patrick Williams Medicine and Research 5 years ago
With all this legislation people are proposing, haven't they heard of the California SCOTUS failure?
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up5 years ago
more people kill others as a result of books. bible, koran.

religious tax anyone?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 17th January 2013 1:27pm

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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts5 years ago
My uncle lives in Missouri and I visit him regularly (he's an expat who has lived there for many years). He lives in a tiny, one horse town in the middle of nowhere. The local gas station gets maybe half a dozen customers a day, most of them farmers filling up their tractors. To give you an idea of the mentality you can encounter there, I was staying with my uncle when 9/11 happened, and the day after people were queuing up at the gas station panic buying petrol. We went to the local Walmart and the story was the same there - you couldn't move in the "sporting goods" (ie guns) department for people buying anything that would shoot. We spoke to one of the cashiers and she told us it had been like it all day, people fighting over ammunition, guns and petrol cans.

We asked a number of people why they were buying this stuff, and they genuinely believed the US was about to be invaded by Palestine, of all places. I tried to reason with them by saying that even if someone was insane enough to even attempt a land invasion of the US, the army and National Guard would be on hand to fight, but it made no difference, and best of all they all wanted to nuke Palestine "just to be on the safe side".

You couldn't make it up. They're really nice folks who would bend over backwards to help you out, but they really do have some funny ideas about the world at large.
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Sean Kauppinen Founder & CEO, IDEA5 years ago
We could tax frivolous legislation!
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Mark Laurel Developer 5 years ago
I wonder how much of the government debt would be payed IF taxes were levied on the ammunition used to kill people (Illinois is proposing this).

Guess we'll never know since the NRA has become a massive backer of just about EVERY politician.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
When politicians attempt to make legistration such as this I think it's only fair that the full bill be deducted from their salary and not state funds. Then we'll see how much they really believe in all the BS they are preaching.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Yup, that was the idiot I mentioned the other day.

We, the people of the US could save a shitload of taxpayer money if we were putting people who were actually SMART into public office. Hell, I have no problem with anyone being insane on their own time in their own world, but when these nuts are representing a bunch of other citizens who probably wouldn't agree with anything they say (or even hire that person in a non-politcal job because they're frankly speaking, not very bright), yeah... it's time for a big rethinking on who gets put into office.

I still can't believe we have people who don't believe in any science on the Science Committee here, but that's more lunacy a certain part of government here suffers from...
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