The U.S. House of Representatives is still attempting to find ways to punish video game companies that develop violent video games. This time, it is coming through their latest attempt to reform the tax code. The House Ways and Means Committee released an executive summary of the Tax Reform Act of 2014, promising to fix “our broken tax code so that it works for American families and job creators.”
The goal of this Act, in theory, is to help generate additional jobs for the U.S. worker and expand economic growth. Part of the way to do this can be found on page 19, reducing the corporate tax rate to 25% and give a permanent R&D tax credit to American businesses. The R&D credit is there to help encourage innovation and give U.S. Corporations a competitive edge. There is an exception to this, found on page 24:
This is highly troublesome, as it is attempting to indirectly control what video game developers can and cannot create. This is strongly implied on page 26, where they explain why they are reforming the business tax credits:
The House Ways and Means Committee defined what they are doing is using the tax code to not pick who wins or loses in the business world. In theory, this is meant to level the playing field by repealing all business tax credits with three exceptions. Since some video game developers are excluded from the R&D tax credit, it stands to reason it is done to discourage innovation and the development of future violent video games.
In other words, this is an attempt to use the tax code to indirectly restrict First Amendment rights to video game developers. This sort of action should not go unchallenged. If this goes through, it will disincentivize video game developers and potentially hurt a large number of companies. The consequences of it could be far reaching, including video game developers leaving the U.S. to create games in different countries.
It is important for the video game community to act now and stop this before it can gain traction. Tell your friends. Get in contact with your Representative. Start a petition. It is vital that the video game community does something before it is too late.