Martha M. Colorado

The Tampon Tax

A Women's Fight for a "Taxed-Free" Necessity

Dear Future President,

My name is Martha McCullough and I currently attend Mead High School in Colorado. Assembly Bill 1561 is a Bill that proposes to end sales tax on feminine hygiene products, such as tampons, in California. This Bill is a topic that I can relate to, as a woman, and have a strong care and ambition about. Currently, 42 out of 50 states tax these feminine hygiene products as a luxury item, not a "taxed-free" necessity. If feminine hygiene products were considered a medical necessity, they wouldn’t be taxed, and women wouldn’t have to pay the extra cost. Tampons are not a luxury because having a menstrual cycle is something women cannot control.

Women in America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and France are protesting for there to be no tax on feminine products. The Canadians received a levy on the sales tax on feminine hygiene products in 2015 but these women in other countries are still fighting. These women are not protesting in a subtle form. They are bleeding out and wearing white pants to prove that their menstrual cycle is not something they can control, or considered a type of luxury. There are women signing petitions as well to prove that they understand that using feminine products are not a luxury, but a necessity to all women and they believe they should be paying the price for it. These women are trying to make a strong statement to prove to their government but there should not be a tax on feminine products.

An assemblywoman Christine Garcia and Ling Ling Chang from California are strong advocates on this issue. Garcia proposed this Assembly Bill 1561 in January earlier this year. She believes that this issue is a “Gender Injustice”. “Here we are underpaid, every penny really matters, and every month we have a necessity we can’t control,” Garcia argues. “We’re being taxed for being women.” Chang joined Garcia in authoring this bill. "Government is taxing women for something that is totally out of their control," Chang said. "Feminine hygiene is not a choice and should not be taxed." (The Washington Post) On average, women in California pay about $7 per month for 40 years of tampons and sanitary napkins. Statewide, it adds up "over $20 million annually in taxes”. In New York, the state estimated that eliminating the tax would save women about $10 million a year.

These necessities that are taxed can be hard for women to pay for because of high sales tax. Colorado's sales tax is 2.9%, the total tax rate could be as high as 10.9% ( Women could save so much money with their feminine products being not taxed. 10 percent of the states does not tax tampons, and 6 percent are considering to change their tax laws. But what about the other 74 percent or 37 states? The majority of the United States taxes women on products they need to use every month.

It is understood that there are multiple views on this topic. Being a man who looks at this bill may feel that this issue doesn't affect them, so what's the point? Some have even vetoed the bill, such as California Governor Jerry Brown who believe that these taxes are important to the State of California. But the fight is not over, "Jerry Brown please #mansplain why it's OK to balance the budget on women's backs?" she wrote, including a slang portmanteau of "man" and "explain" that is used to disparage men who talk to women in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing (Reuters). Garcia and others will still fight for Assembly Bill 1561 to be passed.

Feminine hygiene products are essential for women to strive in the United States. Women are trying to make a strong statement to prove to their government but there should not be a tax on feminine products. This issue must not be fought for just the State of California, but for all women in America. Assembly Bill 1561 is a strong symbol for every state to achieve a common goal. For women in the United States to stop paying sales tax on feminine hygiene products. Tampons are a necessity, not a luxury.

Thank you for your time,