Legislation Removes “Tampon Tax” in Michigan

Bills aim to provide women economic freedom by ending tax
Thursday, February 7, 2019

LANSING — State Reps. Brian K. Elder (D-Bay City) and Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods) introduced House Bills 4165 and 4166 today to exempt feminine hygiene products from the sales and use tax in Michigan. Currently, tampons, sanitary napkins and similar feminine hygiene products are subject to Michigan’s 6 percent sales and use taxes. The bills would exempt these products from the taxes and hold the School Aid Fund harmless from any loss of revenue.

“There is no reason someone should expect to pay extra for medical necessities, simply because they’re a woman,” said Elder, who introduced this policy as his first bill in 2017. “This is an expense that has been unfairly forced upon half of our population. Michigan already exempts other necessities like food, medicine, certain medical equipment and even newspapers from the sales tax. There is no reason we cannot provide this economic relief, as well.”

Ten states exempt tampons and sanitary napkins from sales tax, including New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland, Florida and Nevada. It is estimated that over the course of their lifetime, women use nearly 17,000 tampons and sanitary napkins.

“Women already face economic disparities in their paycheck every payday; there is no reason we should also be forced to pay this additional tax for taking care of our reproductive health,” said Yancey. “It is time for Michigan to remove this unnecessary financial burden once and for all.”

In the last legislative session, the House and Senate passed additional sales tax exemptions including for dental prosthetics, fundraising sales by nonprofit organizations, certain leases of school buses from private companies, and certain agricultural equipment. Elder, Yancey and many of their colleagues consider feminine hygiene products equally deserving of this exemption.

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