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Texas Senator Proposes Game Tax

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the popular-idea-i'm-sure dept.

162

Via 1up, an article at the Brownsville Herald detailing a proposed tax on videogames. From the article: "The McAllen Democrat said on Wednesday he plans to propose a 5 percent tax on videogames when he and other members of the Senate Finance Committee meet this weekend to discuss a series of tax bills. It would raise about $65 million every two years and be designated for new schools and building upgrades at poor school districts, he said. 'You have all these kids buying videogames, and sometimes they are good, some are bad and that's not my call,' Hinojosa said. 'But I think that we can generate (money) to put toward the schools they go to.'"

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162 comments

In other news (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216568)

Texas gamers propose switching to mail-order, never buying video games from a brick and mortar store again

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218813)

He's a Democrat in a heavily Republican legislature and state. His ideas for taxation carry as much weight as John Kerry's ideas on Iraq. Nilch.

Leave it to Zonk to get the slashherd spooked for nothing.

Nothing to see here. Move along. Go back to your tentacle pr0n and doughnuts.p

better idea (1)

Nesetril (969734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216577)

Always gotta come after the little man, huh? How about a 5% tax on high end multi-GPU 512MB DDR3 KO-edition video cards instead?

Tax (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217346)

I never realized just how insane the American tax system is. I mean, taxation systems are usually deranged even at the best of times, but damn, Americans seem to get the very worst taxation out there. Most countries, when they want money for schools, just raise the sales tax or the income tax (depending on how the current administration feels about what the least harmful way of taxing people is). Taxes for particular goods or services are typically reserved for things that exact heavy costs on the nation, like alcohol or cigarettes.

Re:Tax (1)

perspicaciously (828688) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217843)

Taxation in the US is often used as a deterrent; like alcohol or cigarettes, but also things that the government would prefer conserved, such as gasoline. I think that motion to tax video games is proposing that they should be placed in the former category, hence the sort of sideways "You have all these kids buying video games, and sometimes they are good, some are bad and that's not my call".

Re:Tax (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218077)

Yeah, but a deterrent to buying videogames? Why not a tax on rap CDs, or slasher films? Hell, why not a tax on fatty foods or Republican/Democratic party campaign materials? All presumably encourage bad behaviour -- violence and rudeness to ho's, serial murder, obesity, and voting for corrupt shitty leaders, respectively. Videogames are innocuous compared to any of the previous. This kind of thing has to be saved for the most extreme problems, because it has a detrimental effect on the economy. Taxing just any old thing leads to, well, basically it leads to Soviet-style communism (as opposed to the much more unencumbered capitalist welfare-state thing that America normally leans towards, at least a little).

Re:Tax (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218798)

Yeah, but a deterrent to buying videogames? Why not a tax on rap CDs, or slasher films?
Because that would be discrimination?

All presumably encourage bad behaviour -- violence and rudeness to ho's, serial murder
Yeah, I knew Mario was up to No Good(TM)

Oh, man. I wish I was still in school... (4, Funny)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216579)

'Stop playing that game and finish your homework!' 'Wait! Dad! I'm... uh... helping... fund... the school! YEAH!' 'So that's what that new tax is. [laugh] Alright, kid. Go for it.'

from the wtf dept (0, Flamebait)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216583)

wtf.....why not a tax on stupid proposals and on stupid politicians.

you know...if these politicians took a 5% pay-cut (or just forgo a raise for a year), I'm sure they can collect the funds to help the schools....or tax the Texan oil companies that are forcing families to choose between school supplies, gas, and food.

heck...if Chenney would donate some of his return, damn...that's alot of money for a po' person like me and old Oprah.

Re:from the wtf dept (4, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217278)

"you know...if these politicians took a 5% pay-cut"

There are 181 members of the Texas Legislature (31 Senators and 150 Representatives). Each one earns $7,200 a year (really! [utexas.edu] ) , your 5% pay cut idea would save the state $65,160.

In 2005, the amount of money the Texas Legislature appropriated for general education was $13 Billion. So you'd be increasing that by 0.000005%

Nice try, thanks for playing.

"(or just forgo a raise for a year)"

This is a state proposal, not federal. The Texas Legislature cannot raise its own salary ("cost of living" or otherwise) without the matter first being put before the voters (which is why they're stuck at $7,200 to begin with).

"if Chenney would donate some of his return"

  1. He's from Wyoming, not Texas, otherwise Texas couldn't vote for the Bush/Cheney ticket.
  2. He owed the IRS money, to the tune of over $500,000
  3. Even if he donated every cent he made in 2005 (around $2 million), you'd still be increasing educational spending in Texas by 0.00015%.


"that's alot of money for a po' person like me and old Oprah"

But a drop in the bucket in the budget for one of the most economically vibrant states in the Union.

Re:from the wtf dept (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217684)

A better idea is to have a 5% tax on sponsoring all interactions with publicly elected officials. Took a congressman to dinner -- pay 5% of the price of the dinner to umm... help schools. Taxing an activity is a way to supress it... so why not supress bribery... I mean lobbying, of course.

Re:from the wtf dept (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217699)

You know, texan oil companies don't pay taxes, they push all thier taxes off onto the consumer. This is basic business, they all do that. This is why liberal taxing schemes usualy result in inflation. So if you taxed the texan oil companies, you would most likley be paying more for gas and chosing it over even less food and school supplies.

Now what is going on is the exact same model the cigarette tax made. When a state wants to take money from the people and get re-elected, they now can comfortably do it by only taxing a certain portion of the state at a time. What they have learned is that when a reletive small percentage of people (say 1/4 the population) do or use something regularly, a tax on that product will generaly yeild steady result. Of course they expect some people to quit using that product but the majority will continue. Then a year or so later, they will segregate another portion of the population and do it to them.

I remeber some states rushing out to spend the money from the cigarette settlement and then complaining that it wasn't there two or three years later when people quit smoking. But thats what the settlment was supposed to doo right? make people quite smoking? nahh, it was just a learning experience for those wanting to tax us. Now when my state (not texas) got the lotery, they said half of it would goto the schools, Then one of the papers found that money already going to the schools was diverted to something else and the lotery money was very little more then what was alrerady being spent. So, I'm wondering if this tax is going to raISE money for the schools in adition to what they already have budgeted (plus existing projected budget increases)or if it will just displace the source of some existing revenue so it can be spent on somethign else. Either way, to me, it sounds like a scam from the start

Re:from the wtf dept (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217787)

"You know, texan oil companies don't pay taxes, they push all thier taxes off onto the consumer."

Ah, but most of those consumers live outside of Texas, so it's still a net gain.

Rings a bell (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216592)

You have all these kids buying videogames

Kids being taxed? Have kids been granted the right to vote when I wasn't looking? I seem to recall Americans having a bit of a problem with taxation without representation.

Can somebody explain to me why kids aren't allowed to vote? Sure, they can be easily swayed by dumb slogans, but hey, if that was the reason for not letting people have the vote, hardly anybody would have it.

Re:Rings a bell (1)

agent_no.82 (935754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216864)

I can't vote and I would deny my peers the ability to vote, if such a decision was ever put before me.
I understand many adults are stupid too, but kids haven't finished school(Social Studies classes in particular), and have not had the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas.

Re:Rings a bell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217074)

kids haven't finished school(Social Studies classes in particular), and have not had the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas.


Translation, their programming by the public school system hasn't been completed yet.

________________________________________
A vote against a Libertarian candidate is
a vote to abolish the Constitution itself

Re:Rings a bell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217452)

What about immigrant adults that got totally brainwashed as children? Are they "more educated" and thus better able to vote?

No, I think kids aren't allowed to vote basically because they don't have the rights and responsibilities that adults do.

Re:Rings a bell (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216875)

Sure, they can be easily swayed by dumb slogans...

Not nearly as much as the adults who do vote.

YMBFJ (2, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217575)

I seem to recall Americans having a bit of a problem with taxation without representation.

Your recollection needs updating to include the time period after the American Civil War. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the USA who have to pay tax, but aren't allowed to vote, and it has been that way for many years.

More money for schools (3, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216599)

Because $10000 per child per year isn't enough. Because dumping bucketloads of money on schools has such a tremendous track record of success. Do it for the children (who actually won't be getting the money because it'll go to higher salaries for people who already work at the schools).

Re:More money for schools (4, Interesting)

jtshaw (398319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216695)

Ya... because teachers and administrators in public schools are so overpaid...

The problem isn't that the money goes to people who WORK at the schools, it goes to useless government employees that DON'T WORK at the schools and over price supplies that seam to evaporate into thin air.

It is sad that my first job out of college after undergrad paid more then then public school teachers in some states with 25+ years of experience. It would probably be a lot easier to draw a large number of good teachers (and administrators) if they could provide some reasonable salaries...

Re:More money for schools (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216732)

Your post does not contradict the post you reply to. There is no point in throwing good money after bad. The schools are broken and more money won't fix them. Exactly where the breakage is I can't say, but the assertion that simply funnelling more money to the schools will not fix them is true.

Re:More money for schools (4, Interesting)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216858)

Ya... because teachers and administrators in public schools are so overpaid...

Teachers aren't overpaid... but administrators are. At least at the district my husband works in, the administrators make much more than the teachers, and they, unlike teachers, cannot be laid off. Seriously, his district lays off teachers every year (driving up class sizes more and more), and when they finally passed a levy, guess what they did. Hired more administrators.

Schools need smaller classes and better teachers. Everything else is just fluff.

Re:More money for schools (2, Interesting)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217267)

Administrators are certainly overpaid. When I was still in school, one of the board's favorite cost-cutting measures was to encourage the early retirement of their older administrators. Then everyone got a promotion. This included taking some seasoned teachers and offering them an entry-level administration job.

The idea behind this was that an administrator with many years on the job was making much much more than an entry level administrator, who in turn makes much much more than a newbie teacher fresh out of college. This was supposed to "save money" but in reality, ended up starving the school system of the thing it needed the most - experienced teachers.

If you offered such a promotion and turned it down, you were guaranteed to be left to rot in your classroom. I was lucky enough to have some teachers that turned down the promotions and stayed where they could have the most impact - in the classrooms. Unfortunatly, I also saw a lot of good teachers take the promotion (not that I blame them!) and never teach another class again.

Of course, I also went to school in a city where the school board members were driven around the city by chauffers and made 6 figure salaries (for what, I wonder?), while each teacher was provided with a single piece of chalk as the total sum of their teaching supplies. If you were favored by the board, you even got a new piece of chalk.

You people are idiots (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218827)

My brother supervises a staff of 50. He is responsible for *everything* they do. From the smallest comment, to the largest gaffe. He is scrutinized by hundreds of people every working day, and even every night. His total budget is in the millions, which has accountants, internal, external, and armchair crawling over it all the time. The performance of his customers is judged every day, and many times by the Feds,the State, and by the customers. He is an Elementary School Principle. His salary is under 100k, in the richest school district in the state ( and a very rich state at that ). None of you has been there. Stop the "When I was still in school, ...." Crap - you were a student, like you knew shit about the inner workings of the District. And here is a shocker from the parent "At least at the district my husband works in, the administrators make much more than the teachers, " WOW - Admins make more than the people they supervise???? say it aint so!!! Her further arg drags in the whole "more admin" thing - What were they? Teacher Specialists in many places are considered Administration, yeah, sucks they hired more Special Ed teachers. I have seen the other side, School Admins make every dime in thier pay.

Sera

Re:More money for schools (1)

VGR (467274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217147)

I wouldn't count on it. Programmers and web authors get paid pretty well, and ... well, the proliferation of badly designed web pages, badly designed apps, and unstable drivers speaks for itself.

Politicians get paid pretty well, but nearly all of them suck at doing their job.

And there's the increasing number of medical doctors who do their job with all the passion of a fry cook. They don't seem to be interested in helping patients as much as belting out a diagnosis and getting them to go away.

I'm not saying public schoolteachers don't deserve more money. In most cases they do. I'm just saying, higher salaries won't make a difference in the quality of teachers.

Re:More money for schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15218405)

more money could and probably would draw more potential teachers, more to choose from, perhaps more quality people. it does tend to work that way.

I won't always be cowardly

Yeah (0, Flamebait)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216871)

Uhg, im a recent high school grad, i agree soo much. So much that people complain about with regards to school is just wrong. Teachers salaries too low? Average i've heard is around $40k to start, and remember, they only work 8 months out of the year. That equals $60k a year starting pay. Thats a lot for a BA/BS and no experience in anything. Plus most of them get government benifits. As for smaller class sizes, thats a scam too to get more teachers on the payroll. Why does the teachers union think teachers cant handle more than 10 kids at a time? Remember one room schoolhouses, where 1 teacher would teach 50 students in different grades. I thought the quality of education in this country had been declining since then, why dont we go back to that? And before you flame me, my mom is a public school teacher, and most of these opinions are from her.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217171)

[...]Remember one room schoolhouses, where 1 teacher would teach 50 students in different grades.

So that explain why after graduating for high school you still have the English level of a 1st grade.
Nice example dude.

And before you flame me, my mom is a public school teacher, and most of these opinions are from her.

It does look like you're a moron. And before you flame me, my mom is President of the United States, and most of these facts are from her personal spies.

Re:Yeah (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217199)

Average pay to start for teachers is not $40,000 it is far lower, the overall average is $46,000.

Teachers work Sept through May (full months) with a at least a week in June and August so it is closer to 9.5 to 10 months.

Also worth noting is that public school teachers are worse conditions (don't get to pick who they want) and lower pay, so good teachers strive to make it to private schools lowering the standard of our public education.

The people with money who care about their childrens education do pay the teachers more, and it shows.

Re:Yeah (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218688)

In some places, like where I live, the public school teachers make in the low $30s, and the private school teachers make in the high $20s. Huh, you say? Yeah, it's worth the lower pay not to get fscked by the school board or the more rowdy students.

And the more interesting thing is that the school system gets $18k/year/student!!!!!

You don't know anything. (4, Informative)

acidrain69 (632468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217332)

Just about everything you said was BS.

I don't know where you live, but I don't know anywhere outside large, high-cost-of-living cities that pay starting teachers $40k+.

My wife is a teacher, with a masters degree, and even with the masters she doesn't make $40k.

And just because you work 8 months a year, it doesn't automatically translate to a $60k a year salary. You try finding seasonal work that will pay you $5k per month. Oh wait, you just got out of high school.

No one is saying there should be 10 kids to a class. But when you have 25-30 kids running around like crazy, it is more difficult to handle them.

I don't know when we ever had 50 students to a classroom in a single room schoolhouse, but the 1870's are so last century. The curriculum is a million times harder than it was then, when most people didn't go to college or even high school. We may not be #1 in the world (or 2 or 3 or 4 etc) but we are WAAAAY more educated as a country than we were back then.

Don't even get me started on "No child left behind" and the FCAT. I know many teachers. My mother. My mother in law. Many of my wife's friends. They all have to teach less and focus on the bullshit FCAT.

Re:Yeah (1)

MaverickUW (177871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217498)

Try Washington State. Average teacher starting salary (which is funded by the state, not the district), is approximately $28,000. In most school districts, teachers work close to be beginning of August to the end of June. Yes, there is a month of vacation in there, but salary is generally payed year round. So yes, most teachers don't make $2500 a month BEFORE taxes get taken out. Compound that with the fact that teachers work overtime without pay (if you think a teacher's job starts when they arrive at school and ends when they leave it, you're an idiot). Not only are teachers low paid, but they're also expected to earn an additional 15 college credits every 3 years (or 150 credit hours of seminars) that they themselves pay for. Add to this the fact that there are larger class sizes, not smaller, and that there are psychos out there who want to pay teachers based on performance while taking away the tools they need...

If this was the model that Microsoft used it would be like:

Write Windows Vista, in a week, using a pencil and paper, you get paid for how well it works. BTW, bring your own pencil and paper.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217528)

What a load of bullshit. Still, even if you were right on every point, it's still bullshit. "Those who can't, teach." Those who can, have six-figure jobs, and they're not going to give them up to teach your little kid algebra.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217742)

Or they could, you know, be interested in helping kids get a good start.

Re:Yeah (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217743)

Even though you're kind of mean, you're right. I was going to be a teacher until I realized that I could make more money delivering pizza.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15218070)

Average i've heard is around $40k to start, and remember, they only work 8 months out of the year. That equals $60k a year starting pay

Wow, my starting wage out of college was $40k, but if you add in all the time they didn't pay me for, I was making 70 hojillion bucks!!1!1!

Why does the teachers union think teachers cant handle more than 10 kids at a time?

Because having smaller groups makes it easier to adjust the course to the needs of the students while being able to deal with most of the students, most of the time. Of course, now with the "No child left behind" bullshit, the one idiot in the 30 person class is keeping 29 other students from leaving him behind, while in the 10 person class only 9 kids would be crippled educationally, making it even more important to have sufficiently small classes, or at least enough teachers to segregate the classes into advanced and remedial studies.

What's the difference? (4, Insightful)

ameoba (173803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216607)

I just love how our legislators feel that video games need to be treated differently than movies, books, music or any other form of entertainment. Any argument that can be made for taxing games is going to be equally valid to any other entertainment medium.

The difference is voters (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216899)

They believe, correct or not, that most of the people who play games are younger, either under 18 and not allowed to vote, or in the 18-25 range and thus not very likely to vote (for all their bitching, few university students actually get out to vote). Thus taxing something they care about isn't likely to have an impact on your votes. However if you tax something all your voters use, they'll be pissed.

Re:What's the difference? (2, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217001)

I just love how our legislators feel that video games need to be treated differently than movies, books, music or any other form of entertainment. Any argument that can be made for taxing games is going to be equally valid to any other entertainment medium.
The difference, at least for movies and music, is the power of the industry lobby groups. You think the RIAA or MPAA would stand for senators proposing taxes on movies or music? No chance. But the video game industry doesn't have so much power. That's why sex and violence in video games is getting so much attention while the same thing in Hollywood or on TV is blithely ignored.

Re:What's the difference? (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218745)

Ah but a little dab here, and a little drop there. On the left you make a stroke, and on the right you touch a dab. Up above a smidge, and down below a glob, and pretty soon, you have a painting. But did you make it appear all at once? No.

Same thing here. Tax a little portion of the market, then let them get used to paying it without thinking about it. Next, tax a little more. So first it's video games, pretty much a luxury item. Next it'll be a 2% tax on all movies rented and a 3.5% tax on all movies purchased. But wait, you say, we can't pay a tax on that. Why not, you're already paying it on video games? Oh, okay then, I guess if you say it's not going to make that big a dent.

So now then, you were saying?

so it will raise about $30 million a year (2, Insightful)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216611)

and how many millions will it cost to propose, consider, publish, and implement?

Well... (2, Insightful)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216622)

On one hand more money for poor schools is a good thing.

On the other video games are a luxury item and many other luxury items are taxed.

I'm fine with this and I don't think it is incramentalism, after all they are taxing all games not just the "bad" ones.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216670)

Why not just tax DVD movies? They'll probably raise a hell of a lot more money. What do you mean the taxation isn't representative of the audience? Well, so are video games, you insensative clods! If you're taxing video games then tax any and all forms of entertainment. Their hypocracy (Tax everything I don't buy) is disappointing.

Re:Well... (1)

tansey (238786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216887)

I doubt that a congressman really cares if the 10-20 max DVDs that he buys a year ends up costing him $100 more. I think the idea here is more "Tax anything that my constituents don't buy." When you consider that the majority of gamers are young, most young people don't vote, seniors tend to vote in massive numbers, and very very few seniors play videogames, this is an almost transparent tax to the people that matter to the congressman from Texas. In his mind, he's happy to let the 25 crowd bitch all they want about paying $52.50 instead of $50 for a videogame, as long as the dominant voting force doesn't care. The part about it going to schools will also help assauge the fears of parents who have to pay the 5% tax for their kids' games, because after all--it's going straight to their kids' schools anyway.

So on the surface it appears to be a very popular idea across the board. The only issue I would have with it is how long will it actually be used solely for schools? What will it take for the funds to be 'temporarily diverted' for some 'emergency need' which seems to last just long enough so people forget the original purpose of the tax, and just accept it?

Please correct me if i'm wrong (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218750)

But when you're under 18 (voting age) then you generally get your luxury items from your ... parents and other family members, thanks. So, when Mom and Dad, or G-mom and G-dad are being asked to pay an extra coupla bucks at the register, which constituent are you not affecting?

I'm confused by your specious argument which relies heavily on spin and mis-information to get the point across.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216674)

"On one hand more money for poor schools is a good thing.

On the other video games are a luxury item and many other luxury items are taxed."


Shouldn't those two points be on the same hand?

idiots and politicians (5, Insightful)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216624)

There are ways to tax and there are ways to tax.

Most are highly inequitious - such as this tax.

Why should people buying software be paying for schools?

Is there some link here? of course not.

There are well-known principles of general taxation which are equitious and minimize the discouragement caused by taxation to industry. These need to be followed at all times.

ANYONE suggesting tax should be done otherwise is a complete idiot with regard to economics and should be kept WELL away from any such decisions.

Would you have a politician making design decisions for particle accelerators? of course not - you know full well that simply being a politician doesn't make you a physicist.

In EXACTLY the same way, being a politician does not make you an economist - and if politicians are then making economic decisions, their decisions will lead to an economy in the exact same state as the particle accelerator they would otherwise have built.

Tax is too complicated and too closely related to freedom to be used to implement political policy.

Re:idiots and politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216676)

If that's the case, then why do we have about a billion types of tax? Tax can be used to implement economic policy. Otherwise we would just have one generic income or sales tax.

I do agree with you that games are not related to education and it doesn't make sense to take from the games industry and give it to education.

Re:idiots and politicians (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216779)

How is this -in any way- insightful?

"Why should people buying software be paying for schools?"

Why should people playing the lottery be paying for schools? Why should people buying yachts be paying for public parks? Why should people buying gum be paying for welfare?

"Tax is too complicated and too closely related to freedom to be used to implement political policy."

exactly what 'political policy' does the (stupid) proposed game tax implement?

Re:idiots and politicians (1)

TLouden (677335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218736)

It seems people are forgeting two things:
1) politics have long used economics to justify their actions and are (stupidly you should argue) allowed to make economic decisions.
2) the opposite is not true of economics and in fact any economics which go against politics are generaly ignored or, in more unstable situations, destroyed.

Re:idiots and politicians (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218960)

Just follow australia.
We just have the 10% GST on everything except certain food and other essentials plus a special tax on a couple things like alcohol & cigarettes.

a little advice. (1)

Artifex (18308) | more than 8 years ago | (#15219070)

Most are highly inequitious [..] There are well-known principles of general taxation which are equitious
When you want people to believe you, it helps to use proper language. The words are inequitable and equitable. Though those are value judgements, and economists working professionally should avoid using them.
Tax is too complicated and too closely related to freedom to be used to implement political policy.
Taxes are used in this manner all the time, Toby. Taxes penalize activities and redistribute income. Have you ever heard of "tax incentives?" They're quite obviously also there to promote social/political policies.
There are well-known principles of general taxation which are equitious and minimize the discouragement caused by taxation to industry. These need to be followed at all times. ANYONE suggesting tax should be done otherwise is a complete idiot with regard to economics and should be kept WELL away from any such decisions.
Ah, Toby, have you forgotten that sometimes the policy is exactly to discourage certain behavior? Or have you never encountered the idea of "vice taxes?"
In EXACTLY the same way, being a politician does not make you an economist - and if politicians are then making economic decisions, their decisions will lead to an economy in the exact same state as the particle accelerator they would otherwise have built.
And who would you have set public policy, Toby? The economists? Economics is a tool. Economics can tell you what effects certain stimuli are likely to have on the market, both in aggregate and in estimating individual purchasing behaviors. Economics alone can't tell you the right thing to do, however. This is why it is of paramount importance that we have smart leaders who really have our interests at heart, and who know how to consult economists when making policy. Because it's the politicians who decide, on our behalf, what society wants, and in which directions it should go.
In EXACTLY the same way, being a politician does not make you an economist
And what, may I ask, are you? :)

bah new taxes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216627)

Just say no to new taxes. They are just a way for the goverment to spend more of your money. All the while 'claiming' its for the children.

So this one taxes children for the children. Thats ironic!

How about a tax on... (3, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216641)

The McAllen Democrat said...

How about a tax on Democrats who don't think there are enough taxes? Maybe we could tax them out of existence.

And it's not even a tax on the kids, but on their parents. Just another school tax being described as something other than it really is (i.e. I'm taxing kids who buy video games to pay for their schools.)

Or we could tax stupidity. That would put the Democrats out of business before the Republicans -- but not by much!

Re:How about a tax on... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216786)

Or we could tax stupidity.

We already have that in every state. It's called the lottery.

Re:How about a tax on... (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217811)

I thought it was cigarette taxes.

Re:How about a tax on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216906)

There's already a tax on stupidity... it's called the Lottery. Can't say for Texas, but most states have them. It takes money from thousands (millions?) of people who failed mathematics and sometimes even gives money back to one or two of 'em.

Just redirect some of the funds from that into your state's education budget, and you're set!

The only drawback I can see is if all these people start learning basic statistics, fewer will be left to play the game. Of course, this means less money into education from the ticket sales... so more stupid people... more sales... ooh, it's cyclical! Of course, those people unfortunate enough to be caught in the "stupid" part of the cycle are screwed, but you can't have everything.

Re:How about a tax on... (1)

acidrain69 (632468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217393)

> Or we could tax stupidity. That would put the Democrats out of business before the Republicans -- but not by much!

Um, no, have you read the news lately? Paid attention to foreign and domestic policy? Democrats are not in charge.

Re:How about a tax on... (1)

nanowired (881497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218360)

I have a better idea. A tax on people who blame other parties for problems their own party cause.

Re:How about a tax on... (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218407)

More realistically: more taxes on (1) cars, or (2) cheeseburgers.

Think of the insane revenues you could raise with those...

And who are those unpatriotic commies complaining?!? Can't they see it's for the kids???

define "videogame" in the form of law (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216652)

Would Windows be considered taxable because it afterall contains Solitare and Minesweeper which clearly are games?

Re:define "videogame" in the form of law (1)

poopie (35416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216896)

Oh, and if your cell phone has a game on it, does that mean that you need to pay a game tax on your cell phone? ... and if a business owner purchases a videogame for a retail location, does it get taxed?

If you load a webpage with a java applet that embeds a game in it, and you play it, would you need to voluntarily send in a your videogaming tax fee?

If a software vendor makes serious software that someone finds a way to use for gaming purposes (like tracking gaming odds in spreadsheets), does that software need to be taxed as it might be complicit in the playing of video games?

This is a totally absurd proposal. Next think you know, someone will want to tax information crossing state borders!

Re:define "videogame" in the form of law (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218762)

If you load a webpage with a java applet that embeds a game in it, and you play it, would you need to voluntarily send in a your videogaming tax fee?
That depends on how much you payed for the privilege of playing the video-game on that web-site and which state they do business in.

Re:define "videogame" in the form of law (1)

Nahor (41537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217248)

Would Windows be considered taxable because it afterall contains Solitare and Minesweeper which clearly are games?

Obviously, Politics(tm) is a great game, all Politicians(tm) seems to enjoy it very much, even when they don't understand it (which most don't). Hopefully Politicians(tm) will be taxed. And since it look like a MMORPG type of game, they should be taxed monthly. At 5% their salary each month, schools won't have any budget problem for quite a while.

Re:define "videogame" in the form of law (1)

Wizarth (785742) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218458)

Hear, hear!

Re:define "videogame" in the form of law (1)

tapo (855172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218819)

The question I have is, would my $15 a month World of Warcraft subscription be taxed?

It is a game, after all.

Kids only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216654)

That's fine if he wants to make the kids pay taxes, but what about us single adults who are buying games? I don't really care about funding public schools; I'd rather have 5% cheaper games. Let the parents pay for their kids' schools.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216659)

They tax cigarettes, gas, alcohol and the food we eat... heck, here in Virginia, we're taxed on the stuff we already bought and own (annual property tax and car tax), why not slap it on video games? After all, why let some bastion of self-enjoyment go untaxed? Next comes consoles, PC sales, PC peripherals (you need a new monitor? Extra 6% for us locals, alright?), audio/video equipment, car stereos.. the list goes on and on! This out-of-control problem of disposable income in the the middle class MUST be addressed! They're starting to think about closing the gap! Soon they'll be wanting to live next to this honest Good-ol'-boy in Texas! Shameful!

Re:Well (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216690)

They tax cigarettes, gas, alcohol and the food we eat... heck, here in Virginia, we're taxed on the stuff we already bought and own (annual property tax and car tax), why not slap it on video games?

On a more serious note, the reason is that Video Games are already taxed via VAT/Sales tax. Any extra special "video game tax" is either a double tax or an excise duty. This is essentially the former in practice, but the latter in genesis as excise duties are usually used to discourage certain behaviours.

More idoitic nonsense from US politicians (1)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216715)

Why oh why does this crap even come up when there are more pressing issues to deal with. We can try to vote these idiots out but they are replaced with more bought or idiot canidates. Why doesn't he propose taxing all that money the US oil companies are bringing in? Have them help fund schools. If you are going to propose a tax on video games because some of them may be "bad" and alot of kids buy video games, then why not tax violent movies for that matter(leave the pr0n alone though...wait I don't pay for that anyways) or even family movies--alot of people watch that crap. Games are getting more expensive with each new generation of consoles now we can possibly pay even more. Geez...

Re:More idoitic nonsense from US politicians (1)

denidoom (865832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216890)

Why doesn't he propose taxing all that money the US oil companies are bringing in?

Because he's from Texas, duh! No way he is going to tax his buddies.

A better way to raise money. (2, Insightful)

no_pets (881013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216724)

Instead of taxing games to pay for schools, how about the schools just sell games instead of candybars, magazines, coupon books, etc. It's mainly the kids' families that buy that stuff anyway.

BTW, I say we should tax campaign contributions.

Tax Contributions: Re:A better way to raise money. (2, Interesting)

Randym (25779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218797)

BTW, I say we should tax campaign contributions.

Hey, wait: you might have something there.

I am the State Treasurer of a small political party that doesn't accept corporate contributions, just personal ones, as a matter of principle. Some of our contributions come through PayPal. PayPal of course extracts a small fee for the service, so we don't get the full amount. $5 --> $4.55; $10 --> 9.41; $25 --> $23.97. In a certain sense, then, we are already paying a tax (of sorts; obviously it is a 'user fee'); in fact it's a *regressive* one: the lower the amount given, the higher percentage taken. $5: 9%; $10: 5.9%; $25: 4.12%.

But imagine a *progressive* tax on campaign contributions. The income tax is a kind of progressive tax; the more money you make, the higher your tax rate.

It wouldn't have to be much to raise vast amounts of money. And think of how popular *this* would be with the voters =8^D !

Just off the top of my head, I'd set the rate to be the log-to-the-base-10 of the contribution: it would start kicking in at $10. $10 = 1% (10 cents); $50 = 1.7% (85 cents); $100 = 2% ($2.00); $500 = 2.7% ($13.50); $1000 = 3% ($30), etc. We already have to track every penny we take in; it would be nothing to add another column to the spreadsheet to track this new tax.

We have to report all of our receipts and expenditures already, albeit to different organizations: expenditures to the FEC, receipts to the state. In fact, we report our receipts by transaction, so it would be fairly easy for the state to update its software to automatically figure the amount of state tax due on each transaction, and the required sum would automatically be reported to the state when we file our reports electronically. There is already a system in place to track and fine committees who do not file when required, so the amount of additional overhead required to track and invoice tax due would be negligible.

Needless to say, the only people who would be against it would be those who benefit from raking in *very large* contributions; you know, those parties already in power. A tax that no-one would hate EXCEPT politicians. And it is extremely fair. It would make a great wedge issue for us!

Thanks for your brilliant suggestion!

Why not... (1)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216726)

Put a tax on, oh, say, food? That would generate more revenue than a tax on games.

Or better yet, pornography.

"Hey kids! Your new playground is sponsored by taxes from hotaction.com! They've even put up a few promotional posters to encourage you!"

Works both ways!

Re:Why not... (1)

tansey (238786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216762)

Put a tax on, oh, say, food? That would generate more revenue than a tax on games.

Food qualifies as a necessity, and different states do have taxes on it. However, some states have their tax structure setup specificially so that necessities aren't taxed. So such a proposal would require several states to restructure their whole tax system. Good luck there.

Re:Why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217646)

People BUY porn?

Stupid (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216768)

I already pay taxes to support schools. I just got my 2006 notice, and I'm paying $4,414.44 this year to support Texas schools. Somehow I don't imagine that figure is going to go down if this stupid proposal passes, it's just an attempt to get more school funding in a way most people won't notice enough to whine about.

Democrats just need to face the fact that most Texans don't want to fund schools. If they did, they wouldn't keep voting for Republicans. So quit trying to save people from themselves, and give them what they're asking for: low taxes and chronically underfunded schools.

Oh, if Texas politics were only that simple... (5, Insightful)

Tetris Ling (836450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217180)

Disclaimer: I am a Texan Democrat who had a government teacher who loved to rant about Texas politics. For this, I apologize.

OK, it isn't really as simple as a Democrat/Republican thing. Texas tax politics are an icky morass from whence the few who enter seldom return. First of all, because almost all of the state's revenue comes from sales taxes (like this one), the state budget is incredibly sensitive to flucuations in the economy. This problem would be abated if Texas lowered sales taxes and implemented a income tax or state property tax. Even if you aren't from Texas, you should be able to guess that the chances of this are low.

Now, the main way the state government saves money in a crunch is by shifting costs from the state to local level. Hence, most schools in Texas are funded by local property taxes. This is fine for richer neighborhoods (like the one I grew up in), but does nothing to help poorer parts of the state.

What is really needed is a complete overhaul of the tax system. Even if there was the political will to do this, it would be a huge, painful process that would be difficult to design correctly and even more difficult to sell to the public.

Now, I think this is a stupid piece of legislation, and I don't think it's going to pass, and even if it passes, I don't imagine it will do much at all for Texas schools. But let's not be so quick to accuse Republicians, conservatives, Democrats, or even Texans for not caring about education. This is a very difficult problem that is difficult to fix.

Re:Oh, if Texas politics were only that simple... (1)

mima1895 (969505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218129)

Just about every study ever done (by anybody except educators) has shown that money has little to do with education. Nobody ever figgures this out--of course not because good education comes from great buildings with new carpet- right!

Re:Oh, if Texas politics were only that simple... (1)

Sigmund Dali (925077) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218878)

Let's also not forget that in the Texas government, political parties are relatively irrelevant. Most of the decisions in the legislature are made by the leaders of the Houses, who in turn have a "team" of both Republicans and Democrats. Things don't split easily down party lines, but on whether you are on the Speaker's or the Lieutenant Governor's team or not. In this way, it's actually pretty close to a parliamentry system, but alot more idiotic.

BTW, Texas' government is fundamentally broke, and won't be fixed until a new Constitution is written that is more statist than the current one, which strictly limits central power to the point of inefficacy. The proof is that this is, IIRC, the fourth special session Gov Perry has called on education, and there is shit to show for any of them.

Dividend Taxes (1)

dthulson (904894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216769)

Didn't we just extend a tax cut on dividend income? Wouldn't that generate a lot more income than taxing a kid who spends his Wendy's salary to buy a $45 game? I guess a senator (who probably owns a lot of stock) wouldn't even notice that games cost more, and parents (who at least own more stock than their kids) could see it as a good thing since their kids would be less likely to play as many games if they cost more. Too bad the poor kids can't vote!

So Much For The Lone Star State... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216790)

I haven't heard so much bull since the California lottery was proposed to help the schools.

Probably unconstitutional (2, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216824)

If you believe that TV, movies, music, video games, 'etc are free speech (and, outside of Jack Thompson, I'm pretty sure most people do), then taxing them is unconstitutional. Remember - the power to tax is the power to destroy [state.gov] . As soon as they are legally allowed to levy a $1 tax on video games, they can just as easily make it $1 million.

Re:Probably unconstitutional (1)

LionMage (318500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217068)

So, do you pay sales tax at a book store? Because it seems to me that this tax is a tax on the sale, not upon the game itself -- I mean, what else could they tax? Taxation at the time of sale is generally the only enforceable option for merchandise such as this.

Distraction. (1)

Doctor Tesla (895547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216830)

I like how they talk about how it will 'help the children', instead of how it might negatively affect the game economy in the state. Shouldn't the rule of the thumb be "government doesn't need to go where government doesn't need to go"?

horrible for Texas business (1)

tengennewseditor (949731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216833)

Wouldn't this just cause Texan gamers to order online even more often, shutting down game retailers in Texas?

'what the taxes are for' is bullshit. (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216839)

This is just a tax increase, pure and simple. They say 'it's for the schools!' so people will vote for it. But all they do is then take away the other money that WAS going to the schools.

It's just a general tax increase aimed at an unpopular target.

Again? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216894)

Because all the previous taxes for schools, public works, and beautification projects have accomplished their intended goal. Every city in America already has adequate social servic--oh wait...

"You are a slave, Neo."

Only in Texas... (0, Troll)

Ekhymosis (949557) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216981)

Why is it that such stupidity comes from Texas lately? First Bush, now this...
Don't flame me, I lived in Texas for 20 years. Love the state, hate the politics.

Re:Only in Texas... (1)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218307)

Bush isn't from texas! he came from connecticut originally, he wasn't raised here, he only governed and did business here, and we don't claim him as our own! at least, I don't, and all of my friends, who also live in texas, can't stand him, so apparently, those of us texans with functioning brains aren't quite as stupid as the rest of those dwelling here make us appear to be.

thank you for not making gross generalizations! have a nice day, ya'll!

Why (just) video games? (2, Interesting)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217155)

Why is this targeting video games - and JUST video games?

If this is a luxury tax, then why not expand it to cover books, magazines, music and movies (including rentals)?

Let's see...you have "Children", "Taxes", "Schools", "Funding" and the newest addition, "Video Games". A fine example of grandstanding using Political Buzzword Bingo!

I'd point to the fast-food tax which was proposed elsewhere as being a more realistic - and lucurative - revenue source. The only stipulations I'd make are that this tax should apply to all cafe's/restuarants, AND that a larger percentage of the money should go into funding Sports and P.E. programs in the schools. After all, if kids are going to eat at McDonalds anyways, the least we can do is make sure there's a gym program around to make them work off a few of those calories the next day.

Stamp Act II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217400)

It's cool y'all, we just have to buy these "stamps" and put them on videogames, to let people know we've paid the tax. Oh, and they're also going to start taxing soda. Oh, and Boston harbor is closed. Oh and George II is basically crazy, but shh.

remarkably clueless about industry demographics (1)

0biter (915407) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217481)

its lovely to think that the kids who buy taxed games will be contributing to their own education. but unfortunately the substantial majority of gamers are over 20, and the most recent GDC expressed concern that new, younger people were not being attracted to game playing at all.

lol it's fine learn 2 legislate (1)

Shanoyu (975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217748)

Retailers have lobbyists too, chill.

THIS ISN'T NEWS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217963)

All sorts of legislation/ideas are proposed. 1% actually become legislation. If this passes the Texas House & Senate, THEN it will be news.

standard stuff (1)

spleendamage (971412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218017)

Form - LEG101-EZ

Please fill out in entirety and submit to appropriate committee
(for a color coded list of committees and their chairs see appendix ii)

My suggestion is to raise taxes on ________.
(something you find distasteful, onerous, or, you know, bad)
Description of why said item should be taxed (please be verbose, and if possible, reasonably accurate):
The tax rate will be __%
We'll use the money to fund ________.
(something most people feel good about, e.g. schools, parks, healthcare)

All legislators are advised to file no less than quarterly and more frequently in re-election years.

Die Texas (1)

Rize (757409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218426)

Seriously, why doesn't Texas just cecede. That state is a disgrace to freedom on both sides of the aisle.

Re:Die Texas (1)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218987)

you're entitled to your opinion, as immature as it may be, but some of us living here in Texas use some common sense, and aren't able to uproot and move to a more rational state. it costs money........ so unless i can come crash at your place, kindly shut up. thanks!

NEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15218999)

All your base are belong to the NEA: http://www.nea.org/ [nea.org]

I love teachers, but I detest the NEA and any union that gets too powerful for its own good. Teachers should be able to choose their union, not be forced into one.
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