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Tabby & Fido may get tax break on chow

Pet owners around the state will have State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky to thank for making their lives a little easier, by introducing a bill to exempt pet food from sales tax.

Stavisky’s bill, S2739 which was also sponsored by Queens Senators Shirley Huntley and George Onorato, has been received favorably in committee, according to a Stavisky spokesperson, as is the companion bill in the Assembly, A6354.

In her memorandum to the Senate, Stavisky pointed out to her colleagues, “When the sales tax was first enacted in New York State in the last century, it was described as a tax on luxuries.”

Over the year, sales tax eats up roughly the cost of a month’s food for a pet. Stavisky noted the tax “could be a hardship for senior citizens on fixed incomes who rely on their pets for comfort and companionship.”

Sandra DeFeo, Co-Executive Director of the Humane Society of New York praised the tax break, which would also cover feed for exotic pets as, “a humane bill that will facilitate the humane care of animals and lessen the financial burden on people, many of whom consider their companion animals to be an integral part of their family.”

Stavisky noted that with hard economic times, the tax is a dual-burden on animal shelters, both increasing their costs and the number of pets left with them by people whose finances have left them unable to care for their pets.

John Phillips, executive director of the New York League of Humane Voters, said, “No one should have to choose between food and family, and promised, “We will do everything we can to make sure that this bill becomes law.”

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, the companion bill’s sponsor thanked Stavisky “for her leadership in this effort,” and said, “I look forward to working with her on this bill and other animal friendly legislation.”

The respective bills are in the Senate’s Investigations and Government Operations Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. If approved and signed by the Governor, the tax exemption would take effect at the start of the tax Quarter that started at least 60 days later.

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