NO ONE who’s ever found herself in a sticky situation when it comes to her period is going to stop to lament the tax on tampons she has to pay every time she buys one. Of course not — it’s not the priority at the moment. Stop and think about it, though, and you’ll realize that women who use tampons (and all feminine hygiene products, actually) are being forced to pay extra money to manage an aspect of their existence that they have no control over. Some
people saints out there, however, think that there might be a way to cut down on the costs of feminine hygiene products and make life for women a little bit easier. Just this week, some California lawmakers decided that since tampons can be considered a necessary item, they should be free of taxes.
The bill kicked off the 2016 legislative assembly session and, if it gets approved, it could officially make feminine hygiene products tax-free in the state. This seems like a particularly obvious move when you consider that in California, Viagra is already tax-free.
Naturally, the people behind the bill are women. Assemblywomen Ling Ling Chang and Cristina Garcia — the first a Republican and the second a Democrat, suggesting that menstruation might be the Great Unifier this bipartisan country needs — recognize that tampons and other period products are particularly a burden for low-income women. Reclassifying the products as medical items and not optional hygiene items would be a one-two punch: it could boot the tax on tampons and, ultimately, get them covered by insurance, in some circumstances.
According to Cristina Garcia:
“It’s called a hygiene product so I have people comparing it to deodorant and shaving cream, but it’s men comparing it to that. It’s not the same. The reality is when we get our period, that becomes a priority. Whatever money you have you are going to use for that. You can’t ignore it.”
“A lot of men are telling me this is stupid or insignificant. But when I hear a story of a young woman who is buying tampons one at a time at a gas station because that’s the only way they can make it work… it’s sad to see that dismissiveness.”
2 Broke Girls, which follows the financial shenanigans of two twenty-something women living in Williamsburg, NY, broaches the subject of unfair tampon costs in one of its episodes:
While the tax amount itself might seem pretty insignificant in comparison to how much women are spending on the damn tampons to begin with, take into consideration the fact that, over a lifetime, the average woman will spend $3,300 paying this tax on tampons. Women in California alone are spending $20 million a year on taxes for their period products.
Sounds like it might be time for a change, and for women to be able to keep it, too.