Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Minnesota Puppy Mill Bill by the Numbers

Minnesota Puppy Mill Bill by the Numbers
Fiscal Note Gives State Financial Rationale for Regulating Commercial Breeders

by Mike Fry

We have all seen the graphic pictures of the cruelty taking place in Minnesota puppy and kitten mills. The images should provide enough rationale for the State to being regulating commercial breeders. However, a new report prepared by the Board of Animal Health with input from the Department of Revenue suggests it would also good business for Minnesota to do so.

After years animal welfare advocates lobbying the State to begin regulating large-scale, commercial breeders of dogs and cat, a new fiscal note relating to House File 253 (the "puppy mill bill"), was recently released. The conclusion of the report is that the State is losing money because it has not regulated this industry. At least $1.3 million per year in uncollected sales tax revenue to be exact.

Though the bill does not directly address tax issues, it is believed that it provides tools that could be used by the Department of Revenue to bring more dog and cat breeders into compliance with Minnesota sales tax laws.

Furthermore, the report, which was drafted at the request of the bill's author Representative Tillberry(DFL), states clearly that if the bill becomes law it will create a new program at the Board of Animal Health which will itself be budget-neutral and fully self-funding. Additionally, by doing a little simple math using the numbers in the fiscal note, it is easy to see that the fees charged to commercial breeders to pay for the program will have virtually no impact on their businesses.

By computing the typical fee for commercial breeders at different sizes and dividing it by the numbers of puppies produced each year, it is easy to see that the fees to pay for this program amount to between $1 and $2 per puppy or kitten sold, costs that will easily be passed on to the purchasers of those animals.

This new report clearly demonstrates the following points:
o The bill is budget-neutral, in that it is fully self-funding and requires no revenue from the State.
o The bill will help the State to generate an additional $1.3 million in tax revenue that is currently going uncollected.
o The inspection and licensing program put forward in the bill would result in no net cost to the breeders because the minimal $1 - $2 fee per puppy or kitten sold can easily be passed on to buyers.

Bill Status

In 2009, House File 253 and its companion bill, Senate File 7, were introduced in their respective houses. House File 253 was passed in the Public Safety and Civil Justice committees. It was then tabled (stalled) in the House Ag Committee. Senate File 7 was tabled in the Senate Ag Committee.

Take Action

Contact the members of these committees and ask that they pass House File 253 and Senate File 7. Because they have already had public hearings on these bills, additional hearings should not be necessary. Ask that they read the new fiscal note, and then do the right thing by passing the bills out of their committees.

Related Links

General MN Puppy Mill Info

House File 253

Fiscal Note

Representative Tillberry

Senator Betzold

House Ag Committee

Senate Ag Committee

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