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'Fido Fine,' a proposed tax on veterinary services, is removed from California's budget

February 20, 2009 |  5:52 pm

Gov. Schwarzenegger signs the state budget as members of the construction industry 
look on. Hard lobbying by the California Veterinary Medical Assn. and other groups has led the California state legislature to drop the so-called Fido Fine -- a proposed sales tax on veterinary services -- from the budget plan that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed today.

Many pet owners and animal groups were up in arms about the proposed tax, which detractors argued could have increased veterinary costs by up to 10% at a time when pet owners affected by widespread economic problems could least afford the price hike. "This tax would almost certainly have resulted in less medical care for animals and more dogs and cats landing in animal shelters," said Jennifer Fearing, chief economist for the Humane Society of the United States. "It was a flawed idea that would've been a step backward in the otherwise progressive trajectory toward more humane treatment of animals in our state."

The California Veterinary Medical Assn. launched a letter-writing campaign and the group's president, William Grant II, said the Fido Fine's opposition was "so intense, a special extension was added to the governor's budget voicemail line to handle the opposition to the tax on pets."

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the California state budget today as members of the construction industry look on. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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