Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Horse Tax

Q:   How do you make $1,000,000 in the horse business?

A:   Start with $2,000,000....

Last week, all hell broke loose in the New Hampshire equestrian community as Bill HB427 came into view.   The bill proposed a licensing of all equines in the state, as well as enforced vaccination for rabies.   40% of the license fees would go to the towns, 40% to the state in a "general fund", and the last 20% to the office of the State Veterinarian.

Now, I'm not going to rehash what a huge uproar this proposed horse tax created and how things proceeded from there, but I do want to comment about one assumption a lot of non-horse people have been making.   And that is that horse owners are rich and therefore can afford more taxation, or "licensing".

I wish.

There may be some who are, but I don't personally know any horse people who are rolling in dough.   In fact, most horse owners I know are fairly tight with their money and feel pain each time grain, hay, bedding, farrier, and veterinarian prices increase.

At the same time, many horse businesses I know are struggling to realise decent profits as basic running costs increase and incoming revenues from lessons and other fees stagnate.   Yup, the current economic blues are impacting everyone.

Taxing horse owners? Hmmm. Not my first choice for how to improve New Hampshire's budget woes.

Q:   How do you make $1,000,000 in the horse business?

A:   Start with $2,000,000...   Sad, but true.

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