One more city is ditching the tampon tax and we’re very excited for them, even if there is a catch
Washington D.C. is taking steps towards becoming the next city to eliminate the tampon tax, and all we have to say is YASSSS. Well, actually we have many things to say, but first let’s just celebrate more women being able to purchase essential feminine products without paying an arbitrary tax. The initiative to end D.C.’s tampon tax follows the precedent set by New York, Connecticut, and Illinois. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has declared that she will be signing legislation to end the 5.75 percent tax on tampons, diapers, and various other feminine products.
Unfortunately, this good news has a caveat. Before the tax will be ended, D.C. officials need to find $3 million a year to make up for the revenue the city makes from the current tax. Although it’s a bummer that women being able to buy tampons tax-free is dependent on a city’s budget, we at least applaud D.C. officials for trying to enact some progress. The next budget doesn’t go into effect until October 2017, so it will still be almost a year before women of D.C. will be relieved of the tampon tax. Hopefully, the $3 million in potentially lost revenue can be made up in the form of other governmental revenue.
D.C. council member Anita Bonds authored the legislation that Mayor Bowser plans to sign. Bonds told The Washington Post, “Women, babies, and persons with disabilities who need these products should not be taxed for natural bodily functions.” Preach, Anita. We totally agree.
The tampon tax is targeted specifically at marginalized populations who need tampons, diapers, and other sanitary care products and are trying to make every penny count. Like most taxes, this initiative hurts lower income women and families the most. If you have limited funds for the month, a box of $7-$10 tampons or pads is outrageous. Ideally, this won’t be an issue a year from now… at least in D.C. How did this ever even happen in the first place?
Even President Obama has taken a stance on the issue. Last year, YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen straight up asked him what he thought about the laws in 40 states.
Obama said, "I must confess I was not aware of until you brought it to my attention...I think it's pretty sensible for women in those states that you just mentioned to work to get those taxes removed. Those aren’t federal taxes that are imposed, those are state taxes, state law, so it would be governors and state legislators who would have to reverse those."
So, there’s a lot of work to do, friends.
In the meantime, just in case you’re wondering if this is a sexist thing, Viagra will remain tax exempt because it’s “medically essential.” So, you know, Viagra is essential but ensuring feminine hygiene isn’t? OOOOOK.
There is no amount of mansplaining that can justify why women should be taxed simply for having ovaries and men can’t shell out a few more bucks for you-know-what and subsidize the loss of tampon tax revenue.