New York Is on the Verge of Getting Rid of Its "Tampon Tax"

by Daniel Barna

New York is set to become the latest state to get rid of the so-called “tampon tax.” A bill is awaiting the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would effectively exempt feminine hygiene products like tampons from the state’s 4% sales tax.

Providing the bill passes, New York would join Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey as the only states in the country to abolish the increasingly controversial tax.

Advocates of making tampons and sanitary pads exempt from state sales taxes insist that much like groceries, female hygiene products are a necessity, not a luxury.

"[Menstruation] is a condition that happens every month for women. It's not a choice," said Fiona Ma, a member of California's Board of Equalization, an organization intent on making tampons tax-free in the Golden State.

The New York bill, which has already passed state legislature, would reclassify pads and tampons as a necessary health product, thus exempting it from state taxes. And while not all health products are exempt—toilet paper and soap are almost always taxed—some experts believe that taxing tampons and sanitary pads places an unfair economic burden on women, who typically make less than men in the workforce.

Another benefit of removing the tax would be to help destigmatize a woman’s menstrual cycle. New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said that while introducing the bill in the state legislature, senior members “were shifting in their chairs” throughout. “Some couldn’t look at me because I was saying these words.”

Make over your bathroom with this Anthropologie Diamond Tuft Bathmat, and let us know if you think feminine hygiene products should be exempt from sales taxes. 

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