FI­DOS UNITED

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Woof. Why not give peo­ple a tax break for pet care? The novel idea has made it onto the floor of the House, cour­tesy of Rep. Thad­deus McCot­ter. The Michi­gan Repub­li­can re­cently in­tro­duced HR 3501, the Hu­man­ity and Pets Part­nered through the Years (HAPPY) Act, which would al­low mil­lions of loving pet own­ers to deduct up to $3,500 in pet care and ve­teri­nary ser­vices a year. The rea­son­ing: Eas­ing the tax bur­den among the na­tion’s 80 mil­lion pet-own­ing house­holds — they spend $41 bil­lion a year on pet food alone — could ul­ti­mately bet­ter the econ­omy.

The leg­is­la­tion has its roots in Hol­ly­wood — specif­i­cally, with prover­bial tough-guy ac­tor and film di­rec­tor Robert Davi of “Die Hard” and “Li­cense to Kill” fame. Mr. Davi, a dog per­son with fam­ily ties to a large an­i­mal-res­cue fa­cil­ity, has long cog­i­tated on the greater ben­e­fits of pet own­er­ship and wrote about his emerg­ing ideas ear­lier this year in The Wash­ing­ton Times.

“Dogs and cats bring down blood pres­sure, they lift spir­its, they’re fam­ily. They teach us about af­fec­tion and ac­count­abil­ity. There’s proven med­i­cal and spir­i­tual value in re­spon­si­ble pet own­er­ship, and we should re­in­force and sup­port it,” Mr. Davi tells In­side the Belt­way, point­ing out that we get tax breaks for other eco-minded acts, like buy­ing a hy­brid car.

“So, why not pets? Giv­ing pet own­ers a tax break is fis­cally smart. It sup­ports pos­i­tive be­hav­ior and those health ben­e­fits. It’s also a dif­fer­ent way of think­ing about help­ing the econ­omy. We need un­com­mon so­lu­tions. It’s like asym­met­ri­cal war­fare, and think­ing out­side the box,” Mr. Davi con­tin­ues. “But I’m telling you, the Belt­way types don’t do that. They’re just so my­opic about cer­tain things. This leg­is­la­tion could re­ally help.”

The ac­tor — who owns one gi­ant dog named Stella and four as­sorted doglets — has organized a pub­lic pe­ti­tion for the leg­is­la­tion, and a Web site (www.pe­tex­emp­tion.com). less in­tel­li­gent than the Founders were, but rather that the sys­tem be­queathed to us re­quires a far more de­mand­ing ex­er­cise of po­lit­i­cal wis­dom in or­der to work.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Not he­li­copter­ing over Nakatomi Plaza any­more: Tough-guy ac­tor-di­rec­tor Rober t Davi is cam­paign­ing for tax breaks for pet own­ers, ar­gu­ing that it would stim­u­late the econ­omy if all the na­tion’s 80 mil­lion pet-own­ing house­holds par tic­i­pated.

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