With nearly 57% of the votes, Nevada just became the 10th state to eliminate the “tampon tax”, following the example of New York, Massachusetts and Florida, among others. If we add the five states that don’t have the general sales tax – Delaware, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon – that makes it now 15 states, plus the District of Columbia.
The sales tax applies a 6.85 percent on feminine hygiene products, like menstrual pads and tampons. Proponents of its elimination argue that other necessity products such as bandages and splints are categorized as “medical device”, and are therefore exempt from taxes.
A Victory For The Menstrual Equity Movement
Ashley Spivak, co-founder of Cycles and Sex, a media platform and ecosystem that offers reproductive and cycle education and resources, said “Hopefully this win will serve as a model for other states to follow suit. If the reason for exempting products from sales tax is because they are considered essential, it’s hard to understand that period products don’t automatically fit into that category.” Suzanne Siemens, CEO & Co-Founder of Lunapads, added: “Taking a stance on regressive pink taxes shows voters you are listening and willing to dismantle historic patriarchal design biases in our economic system.”
Period products are a basic need for all women and transsexual men, usually from around age 12 until 50. It is, therefore, a substantial financial imposition, particularly for younger people and underserved communities.
Menstruators spend over $ 70 a year on these products, a price which can be prohibitive among certain populations. Eliminating the pink tax would create more sustainable solutions for some folks who already have a difficult time accessing necessary and vital hygiene products. It would also send a strong message that state governments care about half their constituents and those they represent, said Arielle Egozi, feminist writer and influencer.
Question 2 and the policy change in Nevada is one more step in a broader country-wide movement for “menstrual equity.” Maria Molland, CEO of THINX Inc. said: “Nevada just made a strong statement about the importance of menstrual equity by repealing the tampon tax. Access to period products is an absolute necessity for all people to fully participate in our society.” Laura Blackburn, giveback manager at THINX, emphasized that this tax ultimately places an extra financial burden on women, who already earn less than men.
Whether Pro or Con, Financial Reasons Abound
Opponents of the so-called “pink tax” across the nation point out to the losses in income tax for the states, which could affect local and state public services, as explained in The Nevada Independent. The approval of this proposal will mean a loss of between $ 6 million and $ 8.5 million in tax annually for the state of Nevada, according to fiscal analysts.
The ballot initiative was first proposed by Democratic state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, who pointed out that this was “a pretty small amount in comparison to the rest of the budget.” If we calculate the tax loss at $ 14 million over a two year period (hint!), that would represent 0.17 percent of the entire current budget of $ 8.1 billion, approximately.
Claire Coder aims to solve the same problem, but in a different way, proposing that menstrual products should be offered in all public bathrooms free of charge.
Shedding light on menstruation is generally positive, but I am concerned about the greater conversation. I believe that it is important for tampons and pads to be viewed the same as toilet paper. They are both necessities that respond to basic bodily functions. Thus, menstrual products should be taxed the same way that toilet paper is. Additionally, menstrual products should be offered in all public bathrooms at no charge, the same way that toilet paper is offered – Claire Coder.
There is substantial controversy about how to solve the “pink tax” issue and for a good reason. But for female-identifying founders, the status quo is not an option any longer. This is one piece on the female equity puzzle, and it’s part of a much larger conversation aimed at unpacking why products marketed to women are more expensive than the equivalents for men.