This may not be relevant to those of you outside California yet, but with the economy in the dumps it probably will be soon enough. California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger is attempting to introduce a sales tax on veterinary services as a part of the current budget proposal. Also on the block for sales tax? Furniture and appliance repair, and golf. NOT on the proposal? Every other healing arts profession. Because human health is very important, but animal health is a luxury, apparently.
This is no small matter to the thousands of animal owners in the state already struggling to make ends meet. The tax is rumored to be about 9%, which is obviously significant. People who are already struggling to pay for a sick animal’s care will not be able to absorb an across the board increase in animal care costs of that magnitude. Want to tax dog treats and Advantage? Fine. But to tax a foreign body removal, a medical service, is a dangerous precedent. And will be just one more nail in the coffin, both literally and figuratively, for the owners who simply cannot afford it, and the animals who will pay with their lives. Note to Arnold: If they don’t get the services, you don’t get the money. Taxing euthanasia? Makes my skin crawl.
I’m annoyed that the Governor has chosen to single out veterinary services as the sole health service worthy (or should I say unworthy?) enough for taxation. We are moving past the notion that pets are property- people are held responsible for neglect, are pressing cases in court for pain and suffering upon the death of a pet. This is a big step backwards. That being said, although veterinary services are out on their own here, it won’t be long until the rest of the health practitioners follow suit.
Other states have attempted to pass a sales tax on professional services (not limited to just veterinary services), to no avail. Let’s keep up the momentum. Hey Arnold, I have an idea if you’re looking for money: Increase sales tax on pet store puppy mill dog purchases to 800%. Voila. Win-win.
It’s very easy to voice your irritation, and you don’t even need to talk to a person: Just call the Governor’s office at 916-445-2841. When you call, please select your language choice, then press 5 to leave your opinion on a current issue, press 1 to select the issue of extending the sales tax to veterinary services, and then press 2 to oppose this proposal. Speaking in an Austrian accent while you do so is optional. Thank you to the California Veterinary Medical Association for publicizing this special phone line.
I’m trying to come up with an appropriately pithy Arnold quote to go along with my feelings on the topic, but coming up short. Any ideas?