California Veterinarians Ask Governor to Not Tax Veterinary Services
State Veterinary Association says taxing pet and food animal health care could result in
increased pet abandonment, euthanasia and public health concerns
Sacramento, CA – The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) today announced a statewide campaign by veterinarians and consumers opposing Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed tax on veterinary services.
The current proposal to tax veterinary medical care is contained in the administration’s “Governor’s Budget: Special Session 2008-09” document. The proposal recommends that on February 1, 2009, the sales and use tax be broadened to include services, such as “appliance and furniture repair, vehicle repair, golf, and veterinarian services.”
“Subjecting complicated veterinary medical procedures and treatments to taxation would be the same as taxing health care for children in California,” said William Grant, II, DVM, president of the CVMA. “What will happen to the sick or injured pets of people already struggling with potential home foreclosures and job losses? How much more heartbreak is it fair to ask of our fellow citizens?”
The CVMA is asking its membership of more than 6,000 veterinarians to write letters to the governor noting the hardship this proposed sales tax of approximately 9 percent would have on consumers; the potential adverse impact on already overcrowded pet shelters; and the unintended consequence of increases in food prices at the supermarket due to taxes on care for food production animals.
“We are concerned that the governor’s proposal puts veterinary medical care in the same category as furniture repair and golf,” added Grant. “Further, this tax would be discriminatory in that it singles out only one healing arts profession. Does this administration consider the health and welfare of our companion and food animals a luxury item that animal owners should consider delaying until better times when they can afford the tax?”
Even though the proposal does not require the taxation of the drugs and medicines used in veterinary services, treatments and surgical services would be taxed. Thus, a Parvo vaccine would not be taxed, but a spay or neuter procedure would be.
The CVMA is concerned about the impact on California’s shelter populations. Shelters already care for more than 800,000 cats and dogs and euthanize about 400,000 every year at an annual cost to taxpayers of $275 million. Taxing care beyond affordability will only increase shelter populations past capacity, resulting in even more deaths.