Two California Assemblywomen, Democrat Cristina Garcia and Republican Ling Ling Chang, marked the first day of the 2016 California Legislative session by crossing party lines and introducing a bill to make menstrual hygiene products, like tampons and pads, free from sales taxes.
A tweet from Assemblywoman Garcia announced the bill, arguing that it would be a positive step toward addressing gender inequality, caused by things such as the wage gap between men and women.
“Basically we are being taxed for being women. This is a step in the right direction to fix this gender injustice,” she emphasized in a press release. “Women have no choice but to buy these products, so the economic effect is only felt by woman and women of color are particularly hard hit by this tax. You can’t just ignore your period, it’s not like you can just ignore the constant flow.”
Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang added, “[F]or many low-income communities it is difficult to access hygiene products. This form of regulatory discrimination should end.”
The press release states that women in California pay over $20 million every year in taxes on tampons and pads. Paired with the fact that women are paid less in wages, this all adds up to some unfair economic hardships. According to a study from the American Association of University Women, women make 79 cents on the dollar compared to men. And women of color make even less than that, with Latinas making only 54 cents and African-Americans 63 cents for each dollar earned by a white man.
Currently, items like walkers, medical identification tags, and prescription medication — including Viagra– are exempt from sales-taxes in California.
If passed, California will join five other states in the country (Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) that have already made these products sales-tax free.
(Image via Shutterstock.)