Florida is the latest state to get rid of its tampon tax
There are now two great reasons to move to Florida: 1. It’s a Swing State, so your vote will have a greater impact in the next election. 2. The legislature just approved a bill eliminating the tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products starting next January. Also, Disney World is there, so there are actually three reasons to move to Florida.
The “tampon tax,” as it’s often called, is a term for the sales tax that’s applied to feminine hygiene items, like tampons and pads, because they’re considered “luxury goods” — it’s the same sales tax that’s applied to household goods, clothing and other items that aren’t considered “necessities.” Items like food, medicine, and yes, Viagra aren’t considered “luxuries,” though, so they’re tax-exempt. That leaves women wondering, what gives?! How can the items we need every month not be considered necessities?
Our wallets shouldn’t have to shed a layer just because our uteruses do!
According to the Associated Press, the elimination of the tampon tax is expected to save Floridians $11 million a year, which is a whole lot of dough for only a fraction of the population to be shelling out. First of all, according to Florida’s 2010 Census, the state’s population is over 18 million people. Assuming about half of those people are men, that leaves around 9 million female Floridians. And then, considering that 44% of Florida’s population is over 45 and 17% is under 14, that leaves 39% of the population paying $11 million a year, which adds up to… insanity. And that’s just Florida!
The tax has already been rescinded in 13 states and Washington D.C., so Florida is in good company, but it’s still not in the company of the entire U.S. However, things appear to be changing.
In 2016, the elimination of the tampon tax was deemed “viral legislation” by New York magazine writer Ann Friedman. That’s because between 1975 and 2005, a mere five states revoked the tax, but in 2015 alone eight states began to consider ending the tax. So clearly there was a sea change that year.
Friedman also points out that legislation to end the tax has most often been sponsored by women, and is put forth in states with more Democrats than Republicans in office. This trend doesn’t exactly fit with Florida’s recent tax repeal, since it has a Republican governor who actually signed the measure into law, but we’re not complaining. (Though the bill was originally filed by a woman, Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo.)
According to HuffPost, Passidomo saw this bill as a no-brainer, saying, “This common sense legislation will result in a tax savings for women all over the state who purchase these necessary products.”
HuffPost also estimates that a woman spends over $18,000 on her period in a lifetime — a small fortune, considering we also make less money than men on average. But, since Emily’s List reports that 13,000 women have signed up to run for office since Election Day, that may mean there’s hope yet for women’s reproductive rights and more female-focused laws like the revoking of the tampon tax.
Ladies, we’ve got this. Now go forth and buy tampons! (In Florida.)