The New York state senate is poised to eliminate New Yorkers’ so-called “tampon tax.”
Feminine hygiene products are currently taxed as “luxury items” in New York, but a new bill could result in their reclassification as tax-exempt necessities, instead. The Republican-run senate passed the bill unanimously on Monday (April 11) after it had passed the state assembly in March, also with full support from lawmakers. The bill now goes to the state’s governor Andrew Cuomo, a father of three daughters, who has said in the past that the tax should be repealed.
“It is a way of providing some tax relief to women everywhere, young girls in particular,” senator Diane Savino said, according to Politico NY. “But on behalf of women of a certain age everywhere, I would love to offer a friendly amendment and ask for a rebate program, Senator Serino. But I know it would probably bankrupt the state,” she joked.
Many US states and some countries impose a tax on menstruation products, unfairly disadvantaging women and arguably charging them for their gender. Critics argue that the products should be treated like a necessity, much like groceries or medical purchases.
Five women filed a class action lawsuit New York state in March over the tax, pointing out that dandruff shampoo and lip balm are not taxed. They say that the average woman spends $70 on sanitary items a year, a sum that especially hurts poor women, while the state gathers around $14 million from the 4% tax. To date, only five US states have decided not to tax tampons, according to Fusion, although the debate is gaining new steam.