You can always count on California for innovative trends and now if one politician gets his way, the state will be the first in the country to give a tax break to people who help homeless animals. The premise is simple: adopt a shelter pet – get a tax deduction.
In an attempt to stimulate the economy with tax breaks and stimulate pet adoptions in overcrowded animal shelters, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth has introduced a bill that will give a tax deduction to anyone who rescues an orphaned animal from a government run shelter.
Assembly Bill 233 proposes a tax write-off of $100 for adoption fees. The average pet adoption from a shelter in California costs between $100 and $150.00
Assemblyman Cameron Smyth hopes the plan will help California’s suffering economy by cutting down on the expense to house and feed homeless animals and motivate people to seek out shelter pets. Here is how the statistics stack up.
- 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 was offered as an alternative to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s earlier proposal to add a tax for pet owners. The so-called “luxury tax” attempted to place a 9% tax for services such as veterinary care.
Even though Bill 233 is creative and “thinks out of the box” critics question whether it will actually increase pet adoption from shelters. California income tax ranges from 1 to 10.3% and writing-off the suggested $100 would amount to a maximum tax break of only $10.30. That doesn’t cover much of the expense of owning a cat or dog.
Bill 233 is supported by California animal welfare and rescue organizations and Assemblyman Smyth appears to be genuine and knowledgeable about animal rescue. In one interview with a local TV news station he brought along two shelter pets and discussed his role in organizing an adopt-a-thon around the Capitol buildings in Sacramento.