New York Aims To Become The Next State To Toss The Tampon Tax
Feminine products are having a moment. With some calling for a red wave to take the taboo out of menstruation, politicians across the country are trying to make tampons and sanitary pads as affordable and accessible as possible.
Five states have eliminated sales taxes on pads and tampons: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland and Minnesota. In New York, a bill awaits the governor's signature, and other efforts to improve access to sanitary products are underway.
The bill would reclassify pads and tampons so they're exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax, like many other items on pharmacy shelves, including bandages, swabs and contraceptives. The bill passed both houses of the legislature, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's media representative has spoken positively about it.
In New York City, a bill would provide free sanitary supplies in schools, homeless shelters and prisons. Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito backs the bill, and the mayor has expressed support for the cause.
New York lawmakers in Congress are working on the issue, too. Rep. Grace Meng, D-Queens, has introduced the Fund Essential Menstrual Products Act of 2015 (also known as the FEM Products Act). It would make feminine hygiene products eligible for purchase with pretax Flexible Spending Accounts.