Michigan lawmakers propose making pet food tax-free

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Posted at 10:12 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 22:31:44-05

LANSING, Mich. — With a $7 billion surplus, Michigan lawmakers are in a unique position; the state has a lot of extra cash and they’re throwing out a lot of ideas on how to handle it, cutting taxes included.

Last week, lawmakers in the House Tax Policy Committee held a hearing on House Bills 5683 and 5684, which would allow pet and livestock food to be exempt from the state’s 6% sales and use tax.

“These bills will not only save money for everyday pet owners but for individuals with service animals that don't itemize their taxes,” says State Rep. Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) who co-introduced the bills.

“Any savings that we can give pet owners and encourage people to rescue animals I'm all in for and happy to try,” added co-sponsor and State Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield).

The proposal receiving mixed-reviews initially, “I have issues with stripping from our sales and use tax. It's, you know, in my opinion, the least destructive tax that we have, I’d rather approach a reduction in income [tax],” said State. Rep. Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes).

Between food and treats, at the high-end, it costs about $700 a year tokeep a dog fed. For animals with special needs, specialty foods could cost more.

In that case, doing away with the 6% tax,would save a Michigan pet owner roughly $40 dollars per-pet per-year.

Though the proposal would also take a decent size bite out of the state’s revenue. Analysis shows the state would lose out on nearly $100 million annually.

Animal shelters meanwhile think the legislation could help to keep them from filling up.

At the house committee hearing, Joe Dobesh, CEO of Michigan Pet Alliance said the costs to care for an animal are among the top reasons people, including seniors forfeit their pets.

When they are coming in to forfeit that their beloved family member it is almost as if it is not a housing situation or like going into a nursing home or something like that. It is almost always cost,” Dobesh said.

The bills are still in committee, we’ll keep you updated if they move forward.