Tampon Tax Repeal Bill Again Advances in Legislature

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gender Neutral Tax Code Sought for California

(Sacramento) – A bill to repeal the tax charged on menstrual health products advanced in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee yesterday, despite the chairman’s opposition.  This is the second attempt by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) to create a gender neutral tax code.  Last year the bill passed through the legislature nearly unanimously only to be vetoed by the Governor who cited a resulting loss of funds if the tax is removed.

“This is a discriminatory tax against women because this tax only affects the half of the population born with a uterus” said Garcia, who is also chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.  “Menstrual health products are basic health items.  My period is not optional.  I shouldn’t be charged a fee every month for my biology and our tax code should be gender neutral.”

Currently, due to the Governor's veto last year (AB 1561, 2016), women in California still pay over $20 million annually in taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins, paying on average $7 a month for forty years.

“Every month, for 40 years of our lives, we are being taxed for being born women. Every month of our adult life we are taxed for our biology. Every month we are told our periods are a luxury, while also being told they are something to be ashamed and we must hide. I respect the Governor’s fiscal conservativeness, but the state budget should not be balanced by a tax of a women’s uterus. The same goes for local governments; our tax codes should be gender neutral,” Garcia added.

Last year New York, Connecticut and Illinois passed legislation to make menstrual products exempt from the sales tax, bringing the total number of states exempting the products to eight.  Meanwhile, in California the tax remains and there is now a case before in California Superior Court, on the basis that tampons and sanitary napkins are not luxuries, but basic medical necessities.  The compliant states that the current tax violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

California law exempts health items like walkers, medical identification tags, and prescription medication, including Viagra®. Tampons and sanitary napkins are not exempt. 

Assemblymember Garcia is committed to working with legislators and activists in California, as well as throughout the country.  The movement that began last year will continue.

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The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.