There is a proposal to create a new $1 million tax on pet food in Maryland. This would be on top of the $20 million Maryland pet owners paid in the sales tax on pet food last year. The goal is to fund a state spay/neuter program. We support the program and think there are fairer ways to raise money than a new tax on responsible pet owners. Funding should be through voluntary sources such as public donations and income tax check-offs.
I support the goal of creating a spay/neuter program in Maryland, but it’s not fair to tax responsible pet owners by taxing the food they buy for their pet. The vast majority of pets in homes already have been spayed or neutered. The $1 million pet food tax would be unfair and bad public policy.
Maryland does not charge sales tax on most food purchases, yet Maryland does tax me when I buy food for my pet. Last year I, along with other Maryland pet owners, paid more than $20 million in sales tax on pet food. Perhaps a portion of this money I already paid could be used to fund a spay/neuter program.
Alternatively, we Marylanders could voluntarily contribute money for a spay/neuter program through an income tax check-off and through general voluntary donations. Other charitable funds administered by the State of Maryland raise money through voluntary means – the Maryland Cancer Fund, Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund, and Developmental Disabilities Administration Waiting List Equity Fund. None of these existing statewide funds raise money through taxes.
Why can’t we raise money for a spay/neuter program the same way other Maryland charitable funds raise money, through voluntary donations? I should be given a choice.
I strongly urge you to vote to amend H.B. 767 and S.B. 820, and to oppose these bills so long as they contains a tax on pet food.
Thank you for your attention to my concerns.