Please help! Contact your legislators to object to the proposed North Carolina State Senate provision of the approved 2015 budget which would add sales tax to veterinary services. Taxing veterinary services is not a good idea for many reasons. Not only will it put stress on your budget for the care for your beloved pet, but the Senate budget does not seek to expand sales tax in a broad way to other service providers. As the bill is currently written, citizens with pets would be unfairly burdened for the benefit of other taxpayers. Unlike human health care, veterinary services are not widely covered by insurance but are almost exclusively paid for out of pocket. Drug costs have risen dramatically in the past few years, limiting access to effective veterinary care. Increased costs will lead to increased pet abandonment and euthanasia.
Additionally, taxing of veterinary services does not make good economic sense due to the large role veterinary services play in preventing zoonotic disease and preventing disease in animals raised for food production. Veterinarians are at the forefront in protecting not only the health of animals, but consequently, the health of the public as well. Keeping pets and food animals healthy is instrumental in lowering the risk of the transmission of zoonotic diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, and flea and tick borne diseases. On a more timely matter, veterinarians are the primary health professionals working to help protect or reduce the risk of avian influenza further wreaking havoc on poultry populations. Should NC suffer a deadly outbreak of the proportions ravaging the Midwest, especially as in Iowa and Minnesota, this would spell disaster for NC chicken and turkey farms and NC's main industry, agribusiness. As you can see, the veterinary profession covers a far reaching range of services impacting animals, public health and the economy.
Please contact your legislators now! For contact information for your legislators, you may find these links helpful:
Please, it is important to act quickly to prevent the taxation of veterinary services. Contact your legislators by phone, email or letter!
Need help? Here is a template of a letter that you can use and build on:
June XX, 2015
The Honorable XX
Dear Senator/Representative XX,
My name is XX and I reside at XX in XX, North Carolina. I am writing to express my serious concerns in regards to the proposed sales tax on veterinary services. I feel it will be a huge detriment to the health of my pets and the public, at large.
As a pet owner in North Carolina, this issue was brought to my attention from my veterinarian, XX, who is an active member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA).
My pet is part of my family, and his/her medical care is a necessity – not an optional service. Dr. XX and the rest of the staff at XX Clinic work tirelessly to ensure that my pet is healthy – all for the most reasonable price possible. Under this proposed new sales tax, however, the clinic would have no choice but to charge more for treatments. Additionally, drug costs have spiraled in the past few years, adding further insult to injury. Pet bills are not covered by insurance, and they add up fast when paid for entirely out of pocket.
All of the funds that the state expects to recoup from this sales tax to help alleviate budget restrictions will not be spent at local veterinary clinics. Instead, many pet owners will either take their business to another state (as there are only five other states currently taxing veterinary services – none of which border North Carolina), or they will choose to forgo regular trips to the vet altogether. This has been shown to not only increase pet negligence, abandonment and euthanasia, but consequently also put the general public at risk of zoonotic diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, flea and tick borne diseases.
Dr. XX and the other vets at XX Clinic and across North Carolina are health care providers with as much medical experience and knowledge as my own doctor, and I feel this tax is an insult to their profession. Health and safety are two things that should never be compromised for our families, including our pets. On behalf of other pet owners in North Carolina, I urge you to reconsider this unfair and onerous sales tax on veterinary services and the animal owners of NC before it takes effect this fall.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.