The Tampon Tax Debate


To tax or not to tax feminine products?

Even President Barack Obama is weighing in.

What goes on in the bathroom isn’t something typically discussed by lawmakers, but it’s really happening.

The discussion of whether personal items like tampons and other feminine hygiene products should be taxed.

Daniel Fairley II isn’t embarrassed to grab tampons at the store for the women in his life.

“I have a partner at home and I picked up tampons for her before,” said Daniel Fairley II.

He sees them as a necessity, not an option.

“There are places in Europe and so on where tampons and pads don’t cost anything. Tampons are free,” said Fairley II.

In Fairley’s opinion, tampons shouldn’t be taxed here.

40 states tax tampons and pads, including Vermont and New York.

While some states like New Hampshire don’t have any state sales taxes, only five that do, consider feminine hygiene products tax-exempt.

Health wise, Dr. Patrick Clifford said tampons and other feminine hygiene products are essential.

“If you’re wanting to leave the house, you need protection against your menstrual period,” said Dr. Patrick Clifford, Affiliates OB/GYN.

In some states, they’re actually taxed as luxury items. In Vermont, the state charges sales tax.

In some store isles the tampons are right next to items like paper towels and toilet paper. This is a good example of the way tampons are currently taxed in Vermont. Right now, there isn’t any other exemptions, so tampons are categorized with these items.

State Representative Patti Komline is looking into the financial impact of separating feminine hygiene products into their own non-taxable category.

“We’re getting our joint fiscal office to do a fiscal note to see how that would impact our state budget. I can’t imagine it’s very much and I’m going to bring that to my committee as a relevant tax bill, as long as my committee is willing to go along with that,” said Rep. Patti Komline, (R) Bennington/Rutland.

President Obama shared his thoughts last week, saying quote, “I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items. I suspect it’s because men were making the laws.”

Last year, Canada reversed it’s tax on feminine hygiene products, so they are no longer taxed.

You can imagine this issue is generating a lot of conversation on social media.

You can join in the debate on our Facebook page, look for Local 22 and Local 44.

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