A proposed bill that would see a 1 percent surtax placed on violent video games sold in Oklahoma has been defeated. Proposed by House Rep William Fourkiller, the new bill, HB 2696, would mean purchases of games rated Teen, Mature, and Adult Only by the ESRB would be subject to an extra 1 percent tax on top of the current price tag. Money generated from this 'Violent Game Tax' would have gone towards Oklahoma's Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund to fight obesity and the the Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund. However, according to minutes recorded and published by the Oklahoma Watchdog, the The Oklahoma House Revenue and Tax Subcommittee, the proposal has been rejected.
"Why [tax] just video games? Why not French fries or rap music or movies?" representative Pat Ownbey is quoted as saying. Another, representative,
Mr. Fourkiller last month claimed that he was inspired to write the bill based on first-hand experience on how video games can lead to obesity and bullying. "A gentleman shot a police officer and stole his car," he told Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV, referring to a recent incident. "He had been playing Grand Theft Auto." He later admitted that not everyone reacts the same way to video games. "I believe after hours and hours of watching the screen, playing the video game, being that person and taking on that role, people get desensitized."
When it was proposed, the bill was met with a largely negative response. Many of our own readers suggested that if there was to be a tax on mature video games, there should also be a tax on violent movies, TV shows, and music.