SALEM. Ore. -- A bill introduced in the Oregon Senate would allow a tax credit of up to $100 for someone who adopts a dog or cat from an animal rescue facility.
Senate Bill 326, sponsored by senators Peter Courtney and Alan Olson, would provide a credit for qualified adoption expenses, including adoption fees, vaccinations, spaying or neutering and microchip implantation.
"Pet adoption today looks a lot different than it did when I was a kid," Sen. Courtney said before the Oregon Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. "In the Salem area, adopting a dog from the Willamette Humane Society starts at $100 and can go up to $350. Kittens, which used to be given away free in front of grocery stores, are now available for adoption for $100."
He said in addition to the minimum cost of $100 for adoption, the costs of pet registration, food, toys, a kennel, leash, brush, litter box, etc. can easily add hundreds more. And he said giving someone a tax return of up to $100 is the least Oregon can do to reward someone who's rescued a pet.
"By adopting from a shelter or rescue group, an animal’s life is being saved," Courtney said. "A human’s life is made richer."
Amy Sacks, a board member of the nonprofit Humane Oregon told the committee the group supports SB 326 as a way to encourage more people to adopt dogs and cats that otherwise might not have homes.
"Oregon’s shelters and rescues do a better job than many states at finding homes for animals, and even find homes for a substantial number of animals from other places," Sacks said. "Senate Bill 326 would further encourage and promote this great work."
But at the public hearing for the bill, Jody Wiser of Tax Fairness Oregon said it's an example of another clever Oregon idea that needs state revenue in order to materialize.
"SB 326 asks you to create a new tax credit, despite the fact that the current budget has a $1.8 billion shortfall. If you choose to support this measure, you are also deciding that Oregon’s children can do with fewer teachers or days of school," Wiser said. "Tax Fairness Oregon would be delighted to support innovative proposals like SB 326, but we want to remind you that every tax credit, tax incentive, or grant you approve reduces the life blood of Oregon."
A work session on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday.