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Texas Senator Proposes Game Tax 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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Texas Senator Proposes Game Tax

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  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @06:37PM (#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).
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday April 27, 2006 @06:44PM (#15216652)
    Would Windows be considered taxable because it afterall contains Solitare and Minesweeper which clearly are games?
  • by jtshaw ( 398319 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @06:52PM (#15216695) Homepage
    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...
  • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @07:08PM (#15216824) Homepage
    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.
  • by ElleyKitten ( 715519 ) <kittensunrise@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @07:12PM (#15216858) Journal
    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.
  • by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @07:54PM (#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.
  • by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:06PM (#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.
  • by Randym ( 25779 ) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:08AM (#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!

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner