A pox on California's proposed veterinary services sales tax!
Posted Nov 08 2008 6:10am
I woke up this morning knowing I’d need to type out a post on my keyboard in the Starbucks hour I enjoy before my 7:30 appointments start arriving. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue for a post topic—that is, until trusty Gina over at PetConnection handed me one (sort-of—I know it’s only 3:30 AM in SF).
Yesterday she blogged on a topic that left me open-mouth breathing like a feral cat in a trap. When I read it first thing this morning I knew I’d have to latch onto her coattails and run with it.
It seems California is at it again. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed to add a sales tax on veterinary services—as if Californians weren’t already suffering from the highest rates for veterinary care in the nation.
Three other states already tax veterinary medical services directly: Hawaii, South Dakota and New Mexico. They make sure that when you pay your vet your vet plays accountant for the state and collects these extra revenues on your behalf.
In case you didn’t know, it’s a given that healthcare services are not taxed. Whether you’re in for a tummy tuck or an angiogram there’s no sales tax applied. Prescription drugs are similarly exempt.
Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan emerges, it would seem, from his belief that some medical services are not “essential.”
To this, all I have to say is, “Go read what Gina wrote over at PetConnection!”:
Now, I have no problem putting a sales tax on non-prescription products, and on services such as grooming if services such as getting your drain unclogged by a plumber are also taxed (not sure if they are, but I’ll be finding out this morning, alas). But veterinary services? These should be off the tax table, along with prescription drugs.
Not only because I believe pets are family — which I do — but because veterinarians are an important part of the entire healthcare system, and need to be acknowledged as such. Threats to human health often start in animal populations, from viruses to tainted food. We need to keep our veterinarians as part of the public health team, and we don’t need any more barriers to keeping people from taking their pets in.
She always says it so well.
And there's more that meets the eye on this tax. Consider that animal agriculture uses veterinary services, too. How will that be received by the Proposition 2-blasted animal industry? I'll bet their lobbyists are already looking in the mirror, Taxi-driver style, repeating to themselves, "You talking to ME?"
Sure, animal agriculture may get spared in the end. After all, this plan is still in the works. But if the Gov'ner gets his way with either branch of the veterinary tree...I think it's only fair we tax his whole family's cosmetic surgery services...retroactively.