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ESA: Proposed Pennsylvania video game tax a "violation of the US Constitution"

Proposed state bill aimed at imposing 10% tax on mature and adult-rated games revived after death in committee last year

The Entertainment Software Association has responded to the revival of a Pennsylvania state house bill attempting to collect an additional tax on video games rated mature and for adults, calling the bill a "violation of the US constitution."

The bill was initially introduced last year but died in committee, and has since been brought back as House Bill 109. If passed into law, the bill would apply a 10% additional sales tax on any mature or adult-rated games sold at retail in the state on top of existing taxes. Proceeds would then go to the Digital Protection for School Safety Account, which would be used for "enhancing school safety measures."

Sponsors of the bill include Rep. Marguerite Quinn [R], Rep. Carol Hill-Evans [D], and Rep. Ed Neilson [D]. On January 28, the bill was referred to the House Finance Committee and is still pending discussion and a vote.

"The Pennsylvania bill is a violation of the US Constitution," reads the full statement from the ESA provided to "The US Supreme Court made clear in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association & Entertainment Software Association that video games are entitled to the full protection of the Constitution, and that efforts, like Pennsylvania's, to single out video games based on their content will be struck down.

"Numerous authorities - including scientists, medical professionals, government agencies, and the US Supreme Court - found that video games do not cause violence. 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."

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Rebekah Valentine avatar
Rebekah Valentine: Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.
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