Thursday, January 15, 2009

California Budget Crisis & Vet Bills

Every day we hear about budget issues: at the federal, state, and local levels. Just this morning Governor Schwarzenegger delivered a State of the State Address that focused almost exclusively on the California’s budget crisis. You can hear his address at The burden of the current economic crisis will be shouldered by all of us (and probably our children too) – the question is how to allocate that burden.

One way being discussed in Sacramento to address the California budget crisis is to impose a 9% sales tax on veterinary services. Currently only three states tax veterinary services: Hawaii, New Mexico and South Dakota. Those in favor of the tax argue that it is easier to tax veterinary services (than other medical services) because veterinary clinics are already set up to collect sales tax (which they do on retail items they sell). The California Veterinary Medical Association is lobbying hard against this tax. It argues that the proposed tax will not only unfairly burden pet guardians, potentially increase shelter populations (if guardians can not afford veterinary care), but will also increase food costs in California (“food production animals” – that’s their term – also require veterinary care). The CVMA web page,, has detailed information about the proposal.

We at Pet Camp understand that addressing the state’s budget crisis is critical; we’re not sure we understand the need to single out veterinary care and pets to address that crisis.

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