Oklahoma gamers will not be forced to pay an additional 1 percent tax on "violent" games anytime soon. House Bill 2696 was voted down on February 20 by a 5-6 margin in Oklahoma's Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Revenue & Taxation.
Introduced earlier this month by representative Will Fourkiller (D. 86th District), HB 2696 sought to charge an additional 1 percent tax on all games rated T, M, and AO in Oklahoma. Fourkiller designed the bill as a means to bring awareness to bullying and obesity.
According to minutes from the discussion recorded by the Oklahoma Watchdog, skepticism regarding the bill's ability to follow through on its aims were voiced by representative Pat Ownbey (D. 48th District)
"Why [tax] just video games? Why not French fries or rap music or movies?" he said. Representative Mike Reynolds (R. 91st District) added, "We could have a task force on a multitude of reasons children are obese."
The Video Game Voters Network, a pro-gaming industry lobbying group, released a statement on the matter, saying its Oklahoma members worked expeditiously to combat the bill, sending "hundreds" of messages to Fourkiller and the Oklahoma subcommittee voicing their discontent.