Uterus-owners, rejoice! Before today, 40 states in the US had a tampon tax, and now we are one step closer to eliminating the discriminatory pricing practices: Governor Andrew Cuomo has officially signed the bill that will eliminate New York’s sales tax on any menstrual products — tampons, pads, etc.
The movement to end the tampon tax has been picking up steam for a few years, and after five New York City women filed a class action lawsuit in March 2016, the bill passed unanimously a month later. Now that it has been signed by Gov. Cuomo, it will go into effect on September 1.
Why is the tampon tax so infuriating, besides the fact that it decimates the bank accounts of women monthly? As Jessica Valenti wrote for The Guardian in 2014:
“The cost of a product that half the world’s population needs multiple times a day, every month for approximately 30 years, is simply too much.”
Moreover, menstrual products are a MEDICAL NECESSITY, yet less necessary products, such as sunscreen, Rogaine (for men, of course), ChapStick, anti-dandruff shampoo, AND EVEN VIAGRA OCCASIONALLY are exempt from sales taxes. The tax just further proves the pervasive nature of gender bias in medicine and economic injustice faced by women.
Gov. Cuomo released a statement echoing the movement’s argument that menstrual products are not a luxury:
“This is a regressive tax on essential products that women have had to pay for far too long and lifting it is a matter of social and economic justice.”
We should still be angry though, especially since we still have to wait for 39 other states to get their acts together — but in the meantime, let’s celebrate the fact that the bill is estimated to collectively save menstruating New Yorkers $10 MILLION BUCKS YEARLY.