Should tax dollars be spent to draw maker of violent video games to Las Vegas?

January 7, 2013

Grand Theft Auto
Last month, the Nevada Economic Development Board signed off on a plan to invest $600,000 in tax dollars in a video game development company looking to relocate to Las Vegas.

The decision to approve the money for Take-Two Interactive garnered little notice at the time and won unanimous support from the board. In fact, the decision dovetailed perfectly with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s economic development plan of attracting more high-tech firms — and specifically entertainment technology firms — to Nevada.

But within the roster of video games developed by Take-Two Interactive is “Grand Theft Auto” and its sequels — games that have become poster children for the violent video games at the center of a debate in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

In an ugly irony, the board approved the money for the game developer the same day the shooting took place — a fact that most board members weren’t even aware of during the meeting or that was mentioned in the discussion.

The full details of the horror at Sandy Hook were just emerging as the board considered the tax incentive for Take-Two Interactive.

“I personally didn’t hear about it until after we adjourned and my chief of staff said to me, ‘My God, did you see what happened?’” said board member and Secretary of State Ross Miller.

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