Proposed bill could tax medical expenses for pets

Veterinarians say they do not agree with proposed legislation that would tax medical expenses for pets

Pet owners could see an almost eight percent increase in their medical bills if particular house bills pass a tax on pet services and veterinarian expenses.

"I think they should find another way to get their money. I shouldn't be charged extra if I have a pet," says pet owner Virginia Swift.

If pet expenses are taxed, it would provide the state with nearly $20,000 in revenue, which veterinarians say isn't worth it when it comes to the total estimated tax revenue for the state, which comes out to $246,738.

"I know everybody has to pay their fair share, the money has to come from somewhere, the state can't run without a budget, but I have a hard time agreeing with taxation on medical procedures whether it be an animal or human. I'm a veterinarian so I'm the animals' advocate," says Veterinarian Dr. Sonny Odom.

Odom says he does not want to be the tax collector for the state when he is already charging some patrons extra for particular drugs their pets take because of taxes.

Senator Freddie Sims says economic times are tough and the state needs money for their budget.

"We're trying to make it fair, equitable and balanced," says Sims. "Rather than target property owners only or people's personal income only, you're using consumers and every one of us in one way or another is a consumer at some point in time."

She says the economy is going through a rough patch and the state budget is in need of money. She says it is not lawmakers' intentions to make any group or service feel like a target.

"In order for us to improve our revenue in the state, these are proposals. None of this has been passed yet but these are proposed fees and taxes on services that have not been taxed before," Sims says.

Veterinarians say while pets may seem like a luxury to tax and people should only own them if they can afford them, they say to some people their pets are like family.

"They're friends, they're little kids best friend, they're your grandmothers, and they're there when no one else is so they mean a lot," says Odom. "It is something that you have to look after and there's a certain standard of care that's expected."

Vets are worried if pet medical expenses are taxed and they have to charge pet owners more, they won't keep up with the care of four legged family members.

The Georgia Veterinary Medical Association has informaton and documents posted on their website which you can view here. Numerous other services along with pet medical expenses could have additional fees if the proposed bills pass.

What do you think about th proposed bill that could tax medical expenses for pets: Is it unfair to pet owners and veterinarians, or should the service be taxed to help provide revenue for the state budget?

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