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Why do we have a feminine hygiene product tax?

Only+seven+states+currently+exempt+feminine+hygiene+products+from+taxes.
Only seven states currently exempt feminine hygiene products from taxes.

Only seven states currently exempt feminine hygiene products from taxes.

Only seven states currently exempt feminine hygiene products from taxes.

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Most people are not aware of the fact that feminine hygiene products in the state of Arizona have a sales tax of 5.60%. Only seven states have specifically exempted feminine hygiene products from taxation – Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Everywhere else in the country feminine hygiene products are taxed. Even though they are taxed, no state puts a specific tax on the products. They are just grouped in with lots of other products.

When it comes down to cost, let’s say the average woman menstruates for forty years and uses approximately 20 tampons per cycle: 240 tampons each year. She will use 9,600 tampons during her entire menstrual cycle. Now, let us do the math. The average cost of a box of 20 tampons is $5.61. With our state’s tax, it is more like $6.00.  Which results in an average cost of $2,880 over a lifetime, $514 of which goes to taxes.

Matt Smith, the Law Magnet Program Manager at South Mountain High School said, “To me, taxing products, that [are] a necessity, is wrong.”

Most states will not exempt feminine hygiene products because of how much the lost in revenue will cost.  In 2016, the California Board of Equalization estimated that California would lose $20 million in state and local revenue from this one change. New York estimated that it would lose $10 million in revenue from a feminine hygiene exemption.

When it comes to making taxes, we don’t really get much of a say.

“Legislature sets a budget with the governor,” said Smith. “Certain taxes require a higher vote, but most budget decisions are done by a majority of senators and representatives.”

If you believe the tax on feminine hygiene products should be exempted, there are some steps you can take towards that. Smith suggests contacting your senators and congressmen.

You can also, “Get a group to help sponsor an initiative,” he said. “Which is a form of public voting.”

Protests are coming around the world against these types of taxes. It comes down to the question of are you willing to work to exempt these taxes, or let the taxes on feminine hygiene products stay?

 

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Why do we have a feminine hygiene product tax?