Emanuel Refuses to Explain Proposed Pet Tax

Only in Chicago: Dogs and cats have become a campaign issue. There's Rahm Emanual's proposed tax on pet services and another issue is the situation at Chicago Animal Care and Control.

Rahm Emanuel.jpg

Rahm Emanuel

I wanted to hear what the major candidates had to say about these issues, and also offer Emanuel a chance to clarify exactly what will be taxed in his plan for luxury taxes.

Gery Chico and Miguel Del Valle responded quickly, and a podcast with both of these candidates can be heard starting next week at www.wgnradio.com.

Gery Chico.jpg

Gerry Chico

I am speaking further about these issues this Saturday morning (February 12) with Bill Moller at 10:50 AM on WGN Radio (720 AM).

Chico predicted that Emanuel would intentionally remain vague and not likely offer an interview or direct answers. He is, so far, correct.

Chico suggested that veterinary exams might even be taxed under Emanuel. If that is true - and so far, I have not received a direct answer from Emanuel's office - that is absolutely outrageous. It's a fact, based on pet ownership data, people of all income levels have pets. To tax veterinary care would not only hurt pets, but also families at all income levels who have pets. In fact, I KNOW pets benefit families in so many ways (scientifically documented), from teaching children empathy to actually offering healthful effects. Do only wealthy families merit these benefits?  What's more, a hefty tax on vet visits could mean more people giving up their pets, or only the wealthier receiving adequate vet care.

As for the additional tax on services such as pet grooming, doggy dare and boarding - I'm not sure that all these categories fall under Emanuel's plan or not. I did receive this statement from Emanuel's office: (click continue reading)

        "Gery Chico believes working families should continue to pay one of the highest sales tax rates in the country, and Rahm believes we should give them a 20% cut. Even the dog knows it's wrong to give tax preferences for mango-scented doggy facials but not for single moms struggling to buy school supplies," Ben LeBolt - Spokesman

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Miguel Del Valle at Dog Day on the Green (with friends)

Personally, like most Chicagoans I like the idea of a 20 percent cut and feel tax burdened Chicagoans more than deserve that. However to assume that dog groomers only do mango facials isn't right. Hear from DelValle and Chico and what they say about how this luxury tax may impact small businesses. And what they really say about taxes.

As for the situation at Chicago Animal Care and Control, both Del Valle and Chico comment in my upcoming podcast. I was directed to Emanuel's website, but there's nothing there (that I can see) on this issue. Also, I believe voters have the right to hear the candidates, including give and take with reporters, rather than merely, "check the website."

Carol Moseley Braun was repeatedly offered an opportunity to comment. Interestingly, while I believe she cares about these issues, the problem seems to be communication within her campaign. I am still happy to speak with her or with Emanuel, who can personally clarify.

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    Steve Dale

    Dog/Cat Behavior Consultant; pet advocate; broadcaster, journalist

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