State Rep. Debralee Hovey (R-Monroe, Newtown) has introduced a bill in the General Assembly to add a 10 percent sales tax to video games rated “mature” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a rating system wildly used throughout the gaming industry.
According to the bill, HB 5735, the funding raised from the surcharge will be put toward research and education surrounding mental health, addiction and antisocial behavior, specifically, “to provide funds for education concerning the danger of violent video games.”
The bill comes less than two months after Newtown resident Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, intent on massacring young children and faculty. Lanza was known to have been a fan of first-person shooter video games, particularly realistic, military-style games such as Call of Duty.
Both the House and Senate Committees on Finance, Revenue and Bonding are currently considering the bill.
A report on GameSpot.com cites similar legislation proposed in Missouri that would levy a 1 percent tax on games rated “teen” through “adult only,” with the funding put toward “treatment of mental health conditions associated with ‘exposure’ to violent video games.”