Pennsylvania is apparently trying to pass a bill that will collect additional tax on video games that are rated "M" for "Mature" or "Adult Only."
That's right, if you live in Pennsylvania, you may soon be paying more for games, if a few politicians get their way that is.
Last year, a bill was introduced that sought to apply a 10 percent additional sales tax on any mature or adult-rated game sold at retail (so digital purchases made within the state wouldn't be included) on top of whatever pre-existing sales tax was already in place. In other words, if you're buying a $60 game, you're going to be paying an additional $6 on it.
The bill initially gained a little bit of steam, but not enough, and so it eventually died in committee. However, it has since been revived via House Bill 109.
Current sponsors of the bill include the following two democrats and one republican: Rep. Marguerite Quinn [R], Rep. Carol Hill-Evan [D], and Rep. Ed Neilson [D]. As of right now, the bill is sitting in the House Finance Committee where it is waiting to be discussed and voted upon.
If passed, proceeds from the tax would be passed along to the Digital Protection for School Safety Account and be used for "enhancing school safety measures."
That said, since the bill has re-emerged, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has responded with a critique of the proposed legislation.
"The Pennsylvania bill is a violation of the US Constitution," said the ESA in a statement provided to GamesIndustry.biz. "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."
The ESA continued:
"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."
We will keep you updated as this story progresses.