Shelter animals got a little treat from Sacramento today when a bill by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth passed the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on Monday by a vote of 9-0. AB 233 will provide a tax deduction to allow individuals to deduct up to $100 in adoption fees for animals adopted from local government and non-profit animal shelters.
It is estimated that 800,000 dogs and cats are abandoned every year, often leaving local governments to foot the bill for taking care of the animals in local shelters. Shelter operating costs have risen to over $250 million statewide due, in large part, to animals that have been abandoned by people who have walked away from their homes.
“I worked hard with the members and staff of the committee to make this a bill that everyone could support,” said Smyth. “There is a serious crisis in our animal shelters that is costing taxpayers a quarter of a billion dollars every year, and AB 233 gives us an opportunity to relieve some of those cost pressures.”
The deduction created under AB 233 would be available starting January 1, 2010, and would be in effect for five years. The cost of the deduction would be offset by a voluntary contribution fund included on income tax forms.
“This bill addresses the problem in California’s animal shelters while remaining mindful of the current fiscal crisis,” Smyth added. “The bill isn’t creating a huge tax break, but it brings attention to the issue and provides a small incentive for people to consider adoption when they are looking for a pet.”
AB 233 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it will be heard later this month.