Campaign Opposes California’s Proposed Vet Tax

Veterinary association says taxing pet owners for services would have adverse effect.

Posted: November 18, 2008, 5 a.m. EST

The California Veterinary Medical  Association  launched a statewide campaign Friday opposing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed tax on veterinary services, among other services, to help fix the state’s $11.2 billion budget shortfall.

“Subjecting complicated veterinary medical procedures and treatments to taxation would be the same as taxing healthcare for children in California,” said William Grant, II, DVM, president of the CVMA. “What will happen to the sick or injured pets or 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 about the hardship this proposed sales tax would have on consumers, the potential adverse impact on overcrowded pet shelters and the unintended consequence of increases in food prices at the supermarket due to taxes on care for animals used in food production.

Grant added that the tax would be discriminatory because it singles out only one healing arts profession.

However, H.D. Palmer, deputy director for External Affairs at the California Department of Finance, points out that the broadening sales tax does not just apply to veterinarians.

“There was no attempt to single out veterinarians,” said Palmer, who serves as a spokesman for the governor on budget and fiscal issues.

The decision to extend the sales tax to certain services — including appliance and furniture repair, vehicle repair, golf fees, and amusement parks — was based on which services are already part of a sales tax, he said.

For instance, mechanics already charge a sales tax on retail products, now the tax will also apply to the labor. The same is true with veterinary services, he said.

“[Broadening the sales tax] was one of the many difficult decisions the governor has had to make,” Palmer said. “But there will be hardships and difficulties if we fail to take immediate action.”

About $357 million will be generated by broadening the sales tax, according to Palmer.
In addition to the tax increases, Schwarzenegger proposed spending cuts in education, health care, and welfare payments.

The plan will now be negotiated among leaders of the state Legislature. If passed, it would be effective Feb. 1, 2009.


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Nina   Danville, CA

2/17/2009 1:15:25 PM

Is the Vet tax still on the table? The proposed tax on alcohol has been taken off of the table, but the tax on veterinary services is still a probability? So the State of CA is taxing necessary health services, but unwilling to increase tax on unnecessary goods like alcohol. Could this have something to do with the Gov's paid resort/winery trip in Napa? Vintner lobbyists pay for a weekend in the wine country and they buy their way out of their product tax. Thought you could not be bought Arnold? I am both embarrassed and appalled that CA is trying to fix their budget woes on the backs of our family member's health. How can we let this happen?

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Carol   Artesia, CA

2/11/2009 8:58:29 AM

This tax is so wrong and will deeply hurt not just the pocketbook but heart of so many. What about service animals or those who are the only company for some. I find myself angry that a state government choses to burden it's population further rather than simply manage spending effectively.

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Angelica   Pleasanton, CA

2/11/2009 7:04:55 AM

Shame on the Governor! Are healthy pets to be a luxury now? For the wealthy only? This will only cause more animal and human health problems. This is the worst idea I have ever heard - I can't believe we elected someone like him!

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janet   san diego, CA

2/11/2009 1:14:31 AM

the people in the legislature should go with out paychecks until they get a balance budget. stop this stupid idea of taxing our pets and do your job that we voted you in if you can not do that then you need to be fired. pets are companions and for some that is all they have.

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