Oklahoma Shoots Down Violent Videogame Tax

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The Oklahoma state proposal to levy an extra tax on violent videogames has been defeated.

In January, Oklahoma State Representative William Fourkiller put forth an idea for a one percent tax on violent videogames, over and above pre-existing sales taxes. Violent videogames make kids fat and aggressive, his thinking went, so they should be taxed at a higher rate to pay for outdoor education and anti-bullying funds.

Fortunately, the Oklahoma House Revenue and Tax Subcommittee didn’t agree and defeated Rep. Fourkiller’s bill. When he was asked to withdraw the legislation, he proposed the creation of the “Oklahoma Task Force on Video Games’ Relationship to Obesity and Aggression,” but that idea was shot down as well.

“It was obvious that this bill singled out videogames with unfair and unfounded claims, and something needed to be done,” the Video Game Voters Network said in a statement.

The bill was flawed in a number of ways, not least of which was the assumption that videogames are uniquely harmful in ways that television, movies, books and music are not, despite a complete dearth of evidence pointing to that conclusion. Its overbroad definition of “violent video games” was also problematic and would have included titles like Get Up and Dance and Zumba Fitness 2: Party Yourself Into Shape. The VGVN also noted, as did the “hundreds” of supporters it credited with helping kill the bill, that the U.S. Supreme Court has already declared that states cannot impose unique, content-based restrictions on videogames.

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