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Ricketts to lawmakers: “Paws off our pet health care”

Ricketts to lawmakers: “Paws off our pet health care”

Governor Pete Ricketts took to social media Monday morning in an effort to stop tax increases on pet healthcare and related services in Nebraska.

At least one of the proposals for raising funds to reduce property taxes would be charging sales tax on veterinarian services.

Ricketts was joined by a veterinarian and a pet healthcare representative during a Facebook Live session to generate public opposition to such a wide tax increase. “That would apply not only to pets like cats and dogs, but also livestock. And we’re here today to say, ‘Keep your paws off of our pet health care'”, says Ricketts “The Legislature is looking to raise taxes on just about everything, and at the end of the day, it will not end up delivering tax relief.”

Dr. Christopher Byers, Medical Director with Veterinary Centers of America, says animals will pay the price if the tax exemption on veterinarian services is eliminated.  “Sales tax on veterinary services would undeniably make veterinary care more expensive and less available,” says Byers. “Small animal owners and ranchers alike will be forced to make excruciating decisions about the animals in their care.”

Ricketts says pet owners are already taxed when they purchase their animals, and when they buy food or pay for other non-veterinarian services, and the tax would fall disproportionately on low-income Nebraskans.

He says history has shown that such increases tend to lead to more spending instead of less.

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