OVMA speaks out against governor’s plan to tax veterinary services

COLUMBUS, OHIO — MARCH 6, 2013 — In response to the new state budget bill, Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) Executive Director Jack Advent testified today against the addition of a sales tax to veterinary services. Previously exempt, veterinarians, along with many other service providers, now face charging sales tax to their clients if the bill passes.

“The sales tax proposal may well change pet owners’ already cautious approaches to health care, putting Ohio jobs and economic growth in harm’s way. It all adds up to an economic recipe that hinders rather helps Ohio’s veterinary facilities and the important services they provide—not just for animal health, but human health as well.”

Jack Advent, OVMA Executive Director

Advent pointed out that because none of Ohio’s neighbors currently tax veterinary services, pet owners along Ohio’s borders may choose to visit out-of-state veterinarians to avoid paying more for animal care and, in particular, surgical procedures. Lower-income pet owners may avoid veterinary care entirely, he will say, leading to a potential increase in pet relinquishment and euthanasia.

Furthermore, a tax on veterinary services could impact human health as well, Advent told lawmakers. With the majority of diseases being transmissible between humans and animals, veterinarians are on the front lines of diagnosis and prevention of many of these illnesses, including rabies, West Nile and Lyme disease. A decline in veterinary visits caused by expanding the sales tax on services could cause an increase in zoonotic prevalence and transmission.

“Veterinarians, like most small business owners, are simply trying to provide the best service and care they can to their clients, at a fair price and within the context of fair government oversight that does not place them at an economic disadvantage,” Advent concluded. “The sales tax on veterinary services fails on all counts.”

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