April 6, 2016

Should States Tax Feminine Hygiene Products?

According to a recent Governing article, five states (Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) say no and others may soon join them.  The article highlights a push among states to lift the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, a move that also sparked a broader conversation about women’s health issues. 

Media coverage last year sought to make people more aware of the issue, the article claims. As an example, it cited Cosmopolitan’s online drive petition to exempt tampons from the sales tax. The magazine claimed that women spend more than $70 a year on these products. The petition stated that, “these items are a necessity—not an option, not a luxury item—and should be treated as such.”   

While some state legislators want to lift the sales tax from hygiene products, others want to make them more affordable, especially to low-income women. California state Representative Cristina Garcia told Governing, “If you’re living dollar-to-dollar, budgeting $7 to $10 a month for these products can be tough.” One way to make the products more affordable to these women is to allow them to buy the products with food stamps. That option though requires changing federal law, which specifies the things people can buy with food stamps.

A quick search of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ database found that nearly a dozen states, including Connecticut, are looking at bills this year to exempt feminine hygiene products from taxation.

Click here to read the full article.