February 4, 2006
Volume III, No. 14
ISVMA Action Alert!
ISVMA is asking all members to send a thank you message to two legislators that have sponsored bills on behalf of ISVMA this legislative session. Go to the ISVMA Legislative Action Center and send your message. You will be using our new grassroots advocacy program - CapwixXC. The message to the legislators is already drafted, but you can edit it if you wish to include information on how the confusing state tax laws affect your practice. This simple act of thanking legislators is a huge part of building capacity to become more effectie advocates for your profession.
Senator Maggie Crotty (D-Oak Forest) has sponsored SB2214 and Illinois State Representative Dan Reitz (D-Steeleville) has sponsored House Bill 4928 on behalf of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. SB2214 and HB4928 are identical bills that would codify the agreement ISVMA reached with the Illinois Department of Revenue (DOR) on sales tax application for veterinarians. The DOR has had more than one year to issue a policy letter outlining the agreement and we have still not seen the letter produced. Therefore, ISVMA asked Senator Crotty to assist us in overriding the DOR with this clarifying statute.
The effect of the bills would be to eliminate the requirement for veterinary practices to hold retailer certificates if their retail sales did not exceed 3% of their annual revenues from the sales of service. Having reviewed the history of veterinary audits at the DOR, there wasn't one veterinary practice that exceeded this level.
Have you visited the ISVMA website in the past several days? If not, you're going to be surprised to see the all of the dramatic changes. You might think you landed on the wrong website because not only has the look been updated, but the content has also been changed and improved.
There are now two separate navigation structures. The navigation links on the left-hand side of the page are Public Areas that are accessible to anyone. The orange navigation bar at the top of the page is the Member Center. For the next few days, there will be no need to login to the Member Center. We have left it open so that veteririans can see why they should login to continue to access these pages available only to ISVMA members.
One of the most important new features of the ISVMA Website is the Legislative Action Center. We have incorporated powerful grassroots advocacy software called CapwizXC. This software will allow you to easily access information on key issues facing the veterinary profession in Illinois. You will also be able to look up your local elected officials and, most importantly, communicate with them through email, phone, fax or by printing and sending letters. Please keep your eyes out for ISVMA Action Alerts and take a few minutes to respond! You'll be amazed at how powerful our advocacy effort will become if you take advantage of participating in the ISVMA grassroots advocacy program.
Search through the website and you'll find that navigating your way around is very simple and intuitive. As many as 1700 people a day visit the ISVMA website and we have made every attempt to make their visits productive! Think of the benefits that accrue to you and your practice:
There are other changes coming...ISVMA will soon be adding a searchable membership directory in the Member Center that is more powerful and has much more information than that contained in the "Find a Veterinarian" feature on the public side of the website.
Several counties have updated their rabies tag license fees to comply with Public Act 94-0369 "The Animal Population Control Act." As you will recall, this was the legislation that originally carried a $3 state tax on veterinary medical services until ISVMA members lobbied to have that tax removed. The precedent of setting a state tax on service would have been devastating. Though amended to alleviate a number of concerns expressed by ISVMA, this new Act is still creating substantial headaches throughout the state.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is responsible for promulgating rules to implement and enforce Public Act 94-0369. They have not issued a draft of these rules yet and it could be months before they are forthcoming. In the meantime, several counties have instituted fee changes to implement the state mandated differential fee of $10 for in-tact animals. There is little consistency between the counties and much confusion arising out of the fact that county boards haven't been given clear direction on how it should be implemented. Nevertheless, counties are required to conform to the law.
If your county has taken steps to implement the differential fee, it is likely that substantial compliance issues are being raised. Some we have heard already include:
There are many other examples of logistical and implementation problems. Please send ISVMA an email to share these issues with us so that we can compile a list for future lobby efforts. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also important that you take time to inform your state representatives and senators of the problems you are having in your practice and in your county implementing this new law. You can use the ISVMA Legislative Action Center to identify your legislators and send them an email letting them know the problems being caused by the Animal Population Control Act.
You may also wish to express your opinion on another (three year-old) state law that gives counties the authority to require veterinarians to collect the license tag fees. This should be a county responsibility and there should be no provision in state law that results in private practice veterinarians being mandated to be tax collectors for county government.
The ISVMA Regional Associations are a great place to pick up high quality continuing education programs. In March 2006 there are some great options available:
The Mississippi Valley VMA Annual Meeting will be held March 1 & 2 at the Par-A-Dice Hotel in East Peoria, IL. The program includes utstanding programs for veterinarians and technicians with speakers including: Alice M. Wolf, DVM Diplomate ACVIM, ABVP; Edward L. Squires, Ph.D, Diplomate ACT (Hon.); Denise Tumblin, CPA; Amity Huskey, DVM; Mindy Blough, CVT; and Elizabeth VanWinkle, CVT. For program information, registration materials and meeting proceedings please click here or contact Dr. Michael Thomas at (309) 444-2311.
The Eastern Illinois VMA is hosting their Annual Meeting on March 2, 2006 at the Hawthorne Inn and Suites in Champaign, IL. The program includes Karyn Gavzer who will present on Life Stage Marketing and Senior Pets and Larry G. Adams, DVM Diplomate ACVIM, Ph.D who will present sessions on Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections, Renal Failure: Re-Emergence of Leptospirosis, and Management of Recurrent Urolithiasis. For more information or to register contact Dr. Sandra Manfra at (217) 333-5300 or Dr. Mary Welle at (217) 328-4143.
The ISVMA recently organized a 501(c)3 foundation for the purpose of supporting projects related to veterinary medicine. Contributions to the Illinois Veterinary Medical Foundation (IVMF) are tax-deductible, so as you are preparing to make charitable contributions at the close of this tax year or if you are looking to make contributions to limit your exposure to the Capital Gains Tax, please consider a donation to the IVMF.
One of the initial projects being support by the IVMF is the development of a Veterinary Heritage Museum at the University of Illinois. The purpose is to organize a collection of hundreds of artifacts, research and historical documents that chronicle the everyday efforts and extraordinary achievements of Illinois' veterinary practitioners, educators and researchers.
Please support the development of a Heritage Museum with your contribution to:
Illinois Veterinary Medical Foundation
I'm out of my area of expertise on this one! Those among you who are herpetologists may be able to tell me what kind of rattlesnake is in this photograph. I stumbled across this angry rattlesnake in south-central Texas in January 2003. It was one of those occasions in which I was very pleased to have a long telephoto lens on my camera.
Now is your chance to share something with me. Please tell me about this rattlesnake so I can expand my knowledge of the wildlife I encounter on my ornithology trips.
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