Originally introduced in October 2018, the video game tax bill that was previously covered ended up dying in committee as the 2018 legislative session came to an end. However, on January 28, the violent video game tax–officially known this time as House Bill no. 109– was once again proposed to The General Assembly of Pennsylvania as an amendment that would tax violent video games by an additional 10%.
a) Imposition.–A tax is imposed on each separate sale at retail of video games that have an adults only rating or maturerating according to the rating system established by the board. (b) Rate.–The tax imposed under subsection (a) shall beimposed and collected at the rate 10% of the purchase price per video game sold. The additional rate of tax shall be in additionto any applicable State and local sales taxes.
What is also notable about this video game tax bill is that The Digital Protection for School Safety Account would be established, with the gathered income to be used of “enhancing school safety measures implemented by school districts as provided by the laws of this Commonwealth.”
If the tax becomes a reality and a retailer was to refuse to collect it, there would be penalties. The penalty amount they would liable for would be equal to “one-half of the total amount of tax.” They would also have to pay the penalty upon demand.
When the bill was introduced, the Electronic Software Association (ESA) provided a statement on the bill:
“The U.S. 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,” the ESA said. “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.”
Rep. Christopher B. Quinn (R) had this to say back in September 2018, when introducing a version of this bill in October 2018:
“Over the past few years, acts of violence in schools seem to be occurring more frequently and with more intensity,” he said in a September memo to his fellow House members. “From Colorado to Connecticut to most recently in Parkland, Florida, students have experienced unthinkable actions by peers in a place that should promote learning and enrichment, safety and protection. One factor that may be contributing to the rise in, and intensity of, school violence is the material kids see, and act out, in video games.”
If the proposed video game tax bill were to come in effect, it would take effect 60 days after becoming law.
What do you think of this video game tax bill? Do you live in Pennsylvania? Let us know in the comments!