Ohio Veterinary Medical Association executive director says budget bill would affect animal and human health.
Jack Advent, executive director of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, testified March 6 against the addition of a sales tax to veterinary services proposed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the new state budget bill.
"The sales tax proposal may well change pet owners' already cautious approaches to healthcare, putting Ohio jobs and economic growth in harm's way," Advent told the Ohio House Ways and Means Subcommittee.
Advent also pointed out that because none of Ohio's neighbors currently tax veterinary services, pet owners along Ohio's borders may choose to visit out-of-state veterinarians to avoid paying more for animal care and, in particular, surgical procedures. Lower-income pet owners may avoid veterinary care entirely leading to a potential increase in pet relinquishment and euthanasia.
A tax on veterinary services could impact human health as well, Advent says. With many diseases being transmissible between humans and animals, veterinarians are on the front lines of diagnosis and prevention of many of these illnesses. A decline in veterinary visits could cause an increase in zoonotic prevalence and transmission.