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Proposed Oklahoma Video Game Tax Is Dead


Earlier in February we brought you the news that an Oklahoma lawmaker, State Representative Will Fourkiller, was proposing a 1% tax aimed at violent video games. The idea was to bring awareness to the purported correlation between video game violence with bullying and obesity, and to channel the funds to Oklahoma's Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund and Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund. Critics argued that the proposed tax was too broadly drawn, given that it would target all video games rated T or higher; this would mean that non-violent T-rated games like The Sims 3 would be targeted alongside games like Grand Theft Auto. Critics further contended that the law excluded other forms of violent entertainment, and that the body of research on the alleged relationship between video game violence and real-world violence is inconclusive.

Now comes news that Oklahoma's House Revenue and Tax Subcommittee has rejected moving forward with the proposed tax in a 5-6 decision, effectively killing the legislation. It seems that Oklahoma lawmakers had qualms similar to those of the tax's critics, questioning why it would single out video games, and not "French fries or rap music or movies." Representative Fourkiller suggested the creation of a task force on the relationship between video game violence and bullying and obesity, but that too was rejected; the prevailing opinion was that there are enough task forces in place that study these issues.

The Video Game Voters Network was quick to celebrate, stating that "Oklahoma VGVN supporters worked quickly, sending hundreds of messages to the [Oklahoma] Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation and to Rep. Fourkiller letting them know that they would not stand for this proposed legislation" and that the U.S. Supreme Court had already decided that states do not have the right to "impose content-based restrictions on video games."

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