It's a little easier to be a woman in several parts of the country these days. The New York State Senate has just dropped the sales tax from menstrual products. This is the latest win in a story that has been developing for some time across the United States.
The crux of the issue is that menstrual products have been taxed as nonessential or luxury items, which any woman who has ever used them knows is far from the case.
The average woman menstruates over a span of about 40 years, during which time she has been paying for the "luxury" of needing pads and tampons. This average woman spends a significant chunk of change on these necessities, and paying a luxury tax on top of that adds up over four decades.
Sales tax has not been required on other items such as adult diapers, hair-regrowth medication like Rogaine, prescription drugs such as Viagra. Especially annoying, even candy bars from vending machines have been tax-exempt.
Meanwhile women have had to pay taxes on products essential to personal needs which crop up, like it or not, every month of their lives during their reproductive years.
In March, 2016, the New York State Assembly passed a bill to end New York's tampon tax, after a class action lawsuit was filed by five women against the State of New York. Passing the bill means that all menstrual products, along with condoms and bandages, will not be subject to the state sales tax.
On Wednesday, April 13, the City Council of Chicago eliminated the city tampon tax, though the Illinois state tax and sales tax are still in place. The decision to drop the city tax will go into effect in 2017.
New York will be the 11th state to remove sales tax on feminine hygiene products. Both houses of the legislature have passed bills to this end.
New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Pennsylvania have all already taken sales tax off menstrual products. Illinois, South Carolina and Tennessee have begun their own debates on the subject.
In Europe, France cut the sales tax a year ago, while the European Union did so in 2016.
Chicago Removes Its Tampon Tax —& The State Of New York Is On Its Way To Doing The Same. Refinery29.com. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
New York is the latest state to scrap tampon tax. Marketwatch.com. Retrieved April 15, 2016.