As half the world's population can attest, getting your period is not a luxury. So, why is it being taxed like one? In California, necessities like food and health items, including medication like Viagra®, are exempt from sales-tax. What's not on the list of tax-exempt necessities? Tampons, sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, and menstrual sponges.
The average woman has 468 periods in her lifetime, and doesn’t have a choice of whether or not to deal with them. Menstrual products are a necessity, and with tampons selling for $7 a box, this extra "tampon tax" adds up quickly. Californians pay $20 million in taxes for tampons and sanitary napkins every year. For people already struggling to make ends meet, this extra tax is a huge burden.
In fact, the tampon tax is just one example of gender-based pricing which is the unfair (but common) practice of charging more for products geared toward women than for those sold to men. Right now, it's estimated that women in California pay a yearly average of $2,161 more than men for goods and services. All the while, the average woman continues to make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.
That's why Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California supports AB 1561. This bill is a bipartisan effort by Assemblywomen Cristina Garcia (D) and Ling Ling Chang (R) to repeal the sales-tax on menstrual products. AB 1561 is currently waiting to be released from the Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file. This means your support is especially important now—if the bill dies, this is where it will happen! If it is released, the bill will go to a floor vote before being sent back to the Assembly for concurrence, and then it will be sent to the Governor for a signature. Please, urge Lawmakers and the Governor to sign AB 1561 into law so that women are not unfairly burdened by a tax that is not gender neutral!
You can visit Assemblywoman Garcia's website to add your name in support of AB 1561 or your organization can send a letter of support to Garcia's office so you will be formally recorded in the committee analyses as support.