Oklahoma Respresentative Proposing Tax Against Violent Games....My Response

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Oklahoma Respresentative Proposing Tax Against Violent Games....My Response

Post  Tony Miller on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:10 pm

News broke today about an Oklahoma Representative, Will Fourkiller, that is proposing legislation that would levy a 1% tax on all video games rated T and up as they contribute to childhood obesity and bullying. I will be posting a news story on the site today about this, but I wanted to post the letter that I am sending to Mr. Fourkiller and my Representatives in the Oklahoma Congress for you to read.

Mr. Fourkiller,

My name is Tony Miller. I am the Editor-in-Chief of Nintendo Okie, a website dedicated to video games that is based in Tulsa. You can find our website here: http://nintendo-okie.com. I’m also a tax paying member of society who takes a keen interest in the lives of my children and family. I recently heard news about a bill that you are proposing in the House of Representatives, HB 2696, that proposes a 1% tax on any video games that are rated “T” for Teen, “M” for Mature, or “AO” for Adults Only.

I have to inform you that I don’t really approve of this legislation and I will be letting my Representatives in the House and the Senate know that I don’t approve and that they should vote against this legislation. While the motives might be laudable the methods are what I can’t agree with. You say that you aren’t singling out the video game industry, yet the legislation only taxes video games. It does not address other forms of violent media such as the music or movie industries, both of which could be argued are more easily accessible to children.

I do however, agree that there is a problem with too many children playing video games and watching TV for too long that can contribute to childhood obesity. I think the best course of action is not government intervention and taxes, but rather parental education. Parents should be the ones setting limits on children in regards to the time limit that they should be consuming media, in any form. Parents should spend more time playing with their children. Video games are a great form of entertainment, and are certainly useful in many ways. Some children learn to read better because of the amount of text that many games have that is needed to comprehend the situations in the game. Hand-eye coordination, puzzle solving skills, as well as time and resource management are useful skills that can be taught by video games.

I do not believe that the link between childhood violence and video games has been definitively proven. Is there some link? Most likely. Do I think it’s the only cause of violence that the media and members of the government try to say it is? Absolutely not. As with any form of media, moderation is the key. Limited amounts of time with software that is approved by the parents can go a long way towards solving many of these problems. Parents need to be educated about the media that their children consume and ultimately make the final decision. I don’t believe it’s the government’s place to legislate this.

I am urging all of the members of the Nintendo Okie community as well as the Oklahoma community as a whole to contact their representatives in government to let them know how they feel about the matter. I don’t care what side of the argument they fall on. Intelligent conversation and discussion is the key. No member of our community will be rude, hateful or argumentative, but we do want our leaders to know how we feel.

I appreciate your service to the people of the great state of Oklahoma, but I cannot support this legislation as it is being proposed and I am going to urge my representatives to vote against it. I will be posting a news item as well as my thoughts on my website for my community to read. Any response you might have would be greatly appreciated and we would welcome you to join us on our weekly podcast that we produce to discuss the matter. Thank you for your service and your time.
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Tony Miller
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Location : Tulsa, OK

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