California Riding Magazine • January, 2009

Riding Reader Writes
Dear Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

On Nov. 14, I received an e-mail from my friends discussing the proposed addendum tax on medical services provided by veterinarians.

Although I can appreciate the current financial crisis the State of California faces, you cannot place this burden on the backs of animal loving/keeping citizens. We are the citizens who go without luxuries in order to feed, house and protect our animals. This includes but is not limited to veterinary visits. In some cases I have heard where people put the health and well-being of their animals before their own and now you propose penalizing us for it.

Most of my friends are not the ones who have defaulted on their loans. We know the value of being able to live in a community where we can have our four-legged friends at home and we have no other place to go, so we do what we have to do in order to stay in our homes and pay our property taxes.

If you can please put in perspective, if only for a moment, over the last four years, the cost of feeding our horses has more than doubled and remains high even now that fuel prices have dropped. What in this economy has doubled in price? Taxing owners for caring for their animal’s health puts an unnecessary added burden on the decision to pay for veterinary services. If this were a tax on pediatrician services, there would be an overwhelming resistance. For many, their pets are their children.

Animal shelters are already overcrowded. Adding this burden will increase the strain on these facilities as sick animals will be turned in by owners unable to afford the additional veterinary costs. In addition, veterinarians already pay taxes for their equipment, health code compliance and employees. Adding this tax to their businesses will force veterinarians to cut back on staff, benefits and other expenses, which traditionally benefit the economy.

As animal owners, we contribute a fair share of sales tax for feed, supplies, fuel, etc. We are contributing members of our communities. Because we do without for our animals, I now must pay more. Your proposal will tax us out of our lifestyle. Personally, I would rather get rid of my animals because I will no longer be able to afford their proper care. Then where will you get your tax money? Tax my empty barn!


Liza Hunter-Rogers

(For more information on what is expected to be a 9 percent tax on veterinary services, part of the proposal to tax various services, contact the California Veterinary Medical Association,