Adopt a Shelter Pet: Get a Tax Break?Published April 24, 2009
California, here we come!" . . .
Concerned animal lovers may be inspired to sing this popular song as the great Golden State does it again . . . coming up with a novel solution to help animals in shelters that desperately need forever homes, and the folks who are planning to adopt them. And if this bill passes and is successful in its intent, perhaps the rest of the country will follow suit which will help both needy pets and the people care about them.
"Assemblyman, Cameron Smyth is suggesting a creative pet-loving solution to the burgeoning government-run animal shelters in the state. He recently introduced a bill designed to both help the economy through tax breaks and hopefully raise the numbers of pet adoptions from these overcrowded animal shelters.
This proposed tax deduction will be offered to anyone who rescues an orphaned animal from a government run shelter. The proposed bill is Assembly Bill 233, and if it passes, a write-off of $100 adoption fees will be granted. In California, presently the average pet adoption fee is between $100 and $150.
By helping to defray the cost of feeding and housing homeless animals, and to inspire folks to adopt pets from shelters, in my opinion, Assemblyman Smyth has come up with an excellent win-win solution with this bill.
Here are some statistics from an article I read the other day about this proposed bill:
*California takes-in 800,000 homeless pets annually.
*The state pays out $250 million to care for the animals.
*The proposed tax deduction would cost the state $1 million which would enable the program to pay for itself after the first 800 adoptions.
Bill 233 seems to me to be a far more appropriate plan than Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to *add* a tax for pet-owners. Considered to be a "luxury tax" Governor Schwarzenegger's plan would tax services for pets, including veterinary care. This just doesn't seem fair to me at all. This is simply penalizing pet owners for taking good care of their pets.
On the other hand, critics of the proposed bill are concerned whether this tax write-off will be sufficient to stimulate pet adoptions from shelters. Since the income tax in California ranges from 1 to 10.3 % the actual amount of the suggested write off of $100 would reach a maximum of only $10.30, which doesn't really make a viable dent in the expenses incurred from owning a cat or dog.
However California animal welfare and rescue organizations support Assemblyman Smyth's proposed Bill 233, since he has demonstrated his own personal concern for shelter pets by promoting shelter pet adoptions, and organizing an adopt-a-thon at the Capitol buildings in Sacramento. It certainly appears that his heart is definitely in the right place. At least he is paving the way for some financial relief, and acknowledging the importance of the role that pets can play in the lives of humans. If I were a Californian, he would sure get my vote!
Do you think this is a workable plan? Would you be more willing to adopt a pet from a shelter if you received a tax write-off? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.