Period Law, PERIOD. and state-based partners are teeing up an end to the tampon tax across the country in 2023. With states pre-filing legislation, and more committed to taking up the issue, this is the first time in history that the U.S. is poised to eradicate state sales taxes on period products in the upcoming state legislative sessions. Particularly impressive is Texas’s bill, HB70, which has already been filed.
Of the 22 states that still tax menstrual products, only two, South Dakota and Idaho have never introduced repeal legislation. South Dakota is on the threshold of changing that, thanks to a proposal by State Representative Erin Healy.
Missouri and Oklahoma have proposed tampon tax reductions in prior years. Period Law supports a full rather than partial repeal based on their argument that any tax on medically necessary products for one-half of the population and not the other violates the equal protection clauses of the U.S. and state constitutions.
Period Law is tracking state progress on a Tampon Tax Leaderboard. States will need to hold hearings on proposed bills, which historically have held up the advancement of what has otherwise been considered a non-controversial, non-partisan step toward economic gender equity.
“To put the problem simply, people are reluctant to speak about menstruation-related concerns in public, but that’s exactly what we need elected officials to do in order to advance these bills,” said Laura Strausfeld, Period Law’s Executive Director. Tampon tax repeal has enjoyed bipartisan support nationwide, including from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. His spokesperson Renae Eze told The Texas Tribune in August that “these are essential products for women’s health and quality of life, and the Governor looks forward to working with the legislature in the next session to remove this tax burden on Texas women.”
Arizona Governor-elect Katie Hobbs strongly supported repeal in her campaign, stating: “Simply put, this is an unfair tax on women, and it’s time that Arizona joined the growing list of states that have moved away from this discriminatory practice.”
As additional bills are filed, Period Law expects more governors to voice support for repeal. No state should be last in line to do what is equitably, politically, and legally right–especially while enjoying historic budget surpluses and when projected lost revenue for tampon tax repeal is less than one one-hundredth of a percent of each state’s total revenue.
With the assistance of volunteer attorneys from around the country – including a core team from the law firm WilmerHale – Period Law has led the legal campaign to end the tampon tax nationwide since 2016. They have filed lawsuits challenging the tampon tax as unconstitutional and succeeded in helping to reduce the number of “tampon-taxing” states from 40 in 2016 to 22 today. Their partner advocacy organization, PERIOD., has helped organize rallies and protests around the country, including activating its members in more than 300 nationwide chapters.
“Purchases of period products should have been tax-exempt from the start, just like prescription drugs. State governments have heedlessly bilked women out of billions of dollars on purchases of these medical necessities,” added Strausfeld.
“We call on states to repeal this tax now, as we activate hundreds of PERIOD. chapters and partner organizations like CVS Health, to join this campaign. A tax repeal acknowledges the undue burden carried by people who use period products in your state. Repealing the tax now is the right move, at the right time,” says Michela Bedard, Executive Director at PERIOD.
For more information and how to partner with our organizations visit the respective websites, https://periodlaw.org and https://period.org.
About Period Law
Period Law is a law and policy nonprofit that fights for tax-free, toxin-free, environmentally sustainable menstrual products that are available at no cost to everyone who needs them. Period Law works with volunteer attorneys from around the country to advance state and federal period equity policies. Like us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
PERIOD. is a global youth-powered nonprofit headquartered in Portland, OR with over 400 volunteer chapters around the world. PERIOD. youth activists have been instrumental in destigmatizing menstruation, supporting legislation to mandate period products in schools, and in the fight to end the tampon tax. Like us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
Categories: Menstrual Health, Period Poverty, Women’s Health, Sales Tax Legislation, CVS Health, Period Equity, Menstrual Equity, Menstrual Hygiene, Tampon Tax, TaxFreePeriod, LauraStrausfeld, CSG
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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Yama Journal journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.