A 'Paw and Claw Tax' Will Bite Pet Owners

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We all have pet peeves. Well, now New Yorkers have a pet peeve about pets. A New York state senator wants to raise taxes on dogs and cats. I swear I’m not making this up.

New York State Senator Frank Padavan has proposed adding an extra 3 percent on everything New Yorkers buy for their dogs, cats, hamsters or birds.

Click here to read a response from the office of New York State Sen. Frank Padavan.

New York already has an outrageously high sales tax, which, when combined with city and county taxes, can top out at 9.5 percent! But that’s not enough for Sen. Padavan, who, by the way, is a Republican. The New York Sun, which broke the story on its front page on Friday, has labeled Sen. Padavan’s money grab the “Paw and Claw Tax.”

Now, it’s hard to have much sympathy for New Yorkers. Those of us who live here put up with a lot of craziness for the privilege of being within walking distance of some of the best restaurants, supermarkets, theaters and museums in the country. But those privileges don’t come cheap. And the politicians tack on “carrying charges” that far exceed the costs of the services.

For example, when I looked up the phone number for Sen. Padavan, I noticed that he has at least three separate offices. Why does a state senator need three offices in his home state? A U.S. senator can justify having one office in D.C. and one in his home state. But does a state senator really need three offices in the same state? And this is just one of thousands of extra “carrying charges” that come with bloated government.

That’s why New Yorkers are justified in feeling more than a bit skeptical of Sen. Padavan’s belief that New Yorkers will actually embrace this new tax. “When people realize the money is going to [animal] shelters, they will understand it’s for a worthwhile cause,” Sen. Padavan told the New York Sun.

Sure, Senator. Every penny of the millions raised with the new tax will go right to animal shelters. Just like every penny raised in Social Security taxes goes right into your Social Security trust fund. Not!

Politicians always lie about where tax dollars go. They claim that certain taxes will go into a specific fund or service and it ends up going into general revenues.

And that’s really why this "Paw and Claw Tax" is a warning to everyone, whether you live in New York, or own a pet, or not. If your tax dollars just went to paying for the cost of government services, your taxes would be a lot less than they are now. Politicians don’t like to bring up costs “related” to their services. But sometimes these costs are greater than the actual programs they brag about funding.

Economist Tom Sowell once added up all the hundreds of billions of dollars that the government spends on poverty programs—everything from food stamps to Medicaid. The total was so large that if you just divided that huge number by the number of poor families in America, you could raise the annual income of poor families to levels solidly in the middle class. In other words, if you just canceled all government poverty programs and used that cash to cut a check for every poor person in America, there would be no poor people in America.

How much longer will Americans swallow the ruse of lying politicians, who claim that a new tax will go only for one specific service and nothing more? Even if Sen. Padavan did believe that every penny of his proposed "Paw and Claw Tax" would go to animal shelters, he should be voted out of office for being such a simpleton. If this tax goes through, the money collected off the backs of animal lovers will eventually end up in the hands of greedy politicians, who can’t get enough of our money—be they Democrats or Republicans, like Sen. Padavan.

So kudos to The New York Sun newspaper for exposing this sham proposal on its front page. And shame on Sen. Padavan for trying to perpetrate another fraud on his constituents. Some day Americans will wake up to the tax shell game of politicians, who move your tax dollars from one shell to another through sleight of hand. Until that happens, we’ll continue to be at their mercy.

The only way to curb the spending habits of politicians is to starve them of revenue. And I say don’t quit until you can see their bones, or at least until a state senator can get by with less than three offices!

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David Asman is the host of "Forbes on FOX" which airs on the FOX News Channel, Saturdays at 11 a.m. ET.