Democrats introduce third attempt to eliminate ‘tampon tax’ in Michigan

 Photo from Valley News Live
Photo from Valley News Live (WNDU)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 5:06 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Democrats in the Michigan Legislature are trying to get the sales tax on feminine hygiene products repealed for the third time.

Sen. Winnie Brinks of Gran Rapids, Sen. Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak, Rep. Tenisha Yancey of Harper Woods and Rep. Padma Kuppa of Troy introduced a bill package last week to repeal the so-called tampon tax.

“It’s money that could go into retirement, could go into education, could go into saving for a children’s education. It’s just an unnecessary tax that takes those dollars out of women’s pockets and prevents us from being able to spend it on other much more productive things,” said Brinks.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included a $5 million appropriation in her 2022 fiscal year budget request to abolish the sales tax on feminine hygiene products and reimburse the Michigan School Aid Fund for any lost revenue.

“In the past, they’ve been reluctant to do this. I think we know for political reasons there have been people who are just a little bit squeamish about talking about the issue. And I think it’s certainly time to get over that talk about the realities of what this means for women, economics in Michigan and throughout the nation,” said Brinks.

This isn’t the lawmakers’ first time trying to get the tax repealed. Brinks said a lawsuit against the state aimed at ending the tax and refunding people may work in their favor this time.

“The lawsuit alleges that this tax is discriminatory towards women categorically. So, the pressure that is added to resolve this issue in statute is just a lot greater this year, and the consequences of not doing so could cost the state a lot of money,” said Brinks.

She also believes Republicans who control the Legislature would be on board.

“Folks that I’ve talked to in the Senate for sure -- hoping to cutting taxes, right? So that is often a Republican idea,” said Brinks.

There are 20 states that currently do not pay taxes on menstrual products. The United Kingdom ended its sales tax on women’s sanitary products on Jan. 1, joining several other countries like Canada, Australia and India.

The bills have been formally introduced, so the next step would be a committee hearing.

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