Golf clubs, please, tax away. But vet bills? Really?
I’d like you to take a moment and read this quote from the website of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a new proposition for offsetting California’s financial hardships:
Broadening the Sales and Use Tax to Include Certain Services: Effective February 1, 2009, the sales and use tax rate will be applied to appliance and furniture repair, vehicle repair, golf, and veterinarian services. Effective March 1, 2009, the sales and use tax rate will be applied to amusement parks and sporting events. This is expected to generate additional General Fund sales tax revenue of $357 million in 2008-09.
Oh, ok, well it is a recession and everythi- wait, he wants to tax veterinarian services????
Now, from the point of view of someone who has probably only ever owned several-thousand-dollar, purebred animals, if any, I can see how maybe a pet seems like a luxury. It doesn’t make him a good pet owner if he sees them that way, but I can see some logic in the train of thought, at least.
But how many people paying vet bills see their animals as a luxury? And that’s what this means – under California law, pets will become a luxury, because in order to have a pet, it must be properly taken care of or you could be fined or arrested for animal cruelty or neglect. And properly taken care of means shots, neutering, check-ups, and care into old age.
By Schwarzenegger’s logic, foster and adopted children are a luxury. Aging parents who we choose to care for and bring into our homes are a luxury. Disabled siblings and spouses who we choose to support are a luxury.
Not only is this proposal poorly thought out, it’s discriminatory, classist, and inhumane.
I try to keep this blog politically neutral, but this is an issue that directly effects everyone in California who has a pet or is thinking about getting a pet, and morally, it should effect everyone, everywhere who has ever cared for another living being. So I hope you can forgive me this once.
I also have some contention with the vehicle repair bit, but that’s just unrelated.