California Governor's Tax Hike to Include Pet Health Services

Vet associations express concern that cat owners may skip medical care.

Posted Nov. 7, 2008, 3 a.m. EDT

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a plan Thursday, Nov. 6, that would extend sales tax to include veterinary services, among other services, to help fix the state’s $11.2 billion shortfall.

“We have drastic problems that require drastic and immediate action — we must stop the bleeding right now,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Hawaii, New Mexico and South Dakota are the only states that tax veterinary medical services, including routine exams and vaccinations, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s state tax summary report.

While California does not tax ancillary services, such as grooming and boarding, or prescription medications, it does tax nonprescription products, as do 33 other states. Eight states reported that there were no taxes of any kind charged on animal products or services.

Members at the California Veterinary Medical Association are not thrilled with Schwarzenegger’s plan.

“We strongly believe that pets are members of the family,” said Valerie Fenstermaker, CVMA executive director. “Any tax on veterinary services may prevent people getting good medical care for their pets. We believe that veterinary care, along with human care, should not be taxed.”

Fenstermaker said CVMA was exploring its options to see what it could do to prevent this from happening.

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.

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California Governor's Tax Hike to Include Pet Health Services

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Pam    Santa Ana, CA

11/25/2008 2:32:27 PM

Give tickets to truck drivers that use the wrong lanes. That would help increase the state's revenue! If we are taxed for vet care, do we get to deduct our pets as dependents on out state & federal taxes? That seems fair!

Harlan    New York, NY

11/7/2008 12:40:13 PM

Pets are members of the family and an extra tax that would in any way inhibit people from getting the best and the timliest medical care for them should be avoided. When pets are given more consideration, the attitude of people would be more along the lines of how it should be towards animals as well as humans. Pets add a lot to people's lives and make them happier. Happier people make for a better society.

Cathy    Hubbard, OH

11/7/2008 5:40:48 AM

Sure, we are taxed to death on everything else, why not this too. Hurt the animals and us.

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