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Bill would eliminate sales tax on pet meds

It’s no secret that many people spend thousands of dollars trying to keep their pets healthy and alive. Legislation introduced in Trenton would give pet lovers a bit of a break by excluding pet medications from New Jersey’s 7 percent sales tax.

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“The prescription bills can mount up, and 7 percent would give a welcome break,” said bill co-sponsor, Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge). “I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but at some point there’s always one dollar more than someone can afford to pay.”

The love and passion for pets crosses all socioeconomic groups and there are people who are really faced with a challenge when it comes to making sure that their pets get the care they need, Coughlin said. He gave credit to Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Clinton) for first sponsoring the bill and then welcoming Coughlin to sign on as well.

“This bill would apply certainly to prescriptions that are prescribed by veterinarians so that they are excluded from the sales tax,” Coughlin said. “It talks about pet medications, which ought to include medication that animals receive during the course of any surgery. That can add up to real money.”

The assemblyman said as the measure works its way through the legislative process, he and his co-sponsor will explore if it is feasible to include surgery medication in the sales tax exemption. Under the bill, “pet” means any domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner.

After looking at the legislation the New Jersey Sales Tax Review Commission recommended that it not be enacted. Coughlin said he understood that recommendation because of the difficult financial times in the state, but he said the bill could be made law without hurting New Jersey’s fiscal situation.

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