It's true, my pre-menopausal sisters, it's true. Despite legislators' efforts to the contrary, you will continue to pay sales tax on whatever you use to staunch your monthly menstrual flow. Governor Jerry Brown says so.
California assemblywoman Cristina Garcia had been fighting to abolish sales tax on the items typically referred to as "sanitary" in your drugstore aisle marker all year long, proposing Assembly Bill 1561 and saying "We’re being taxed for being women.”
"This is a step in the right direction to fix this gender injustice," Garcia said when she announced the bill. "Women have no choice but to buy these products, so the economic effect is only felt by woman [sic] and women of color are particularly hard hit by this tax. You can't just ignore your period, it's not like you can just ignore the constant flow."
The tax loss would not have been insignificant, with an estimated $20 million a year being paid in sales tax by women purchasing tampons, pads, and the like. The bill, if it had passed, would have joined items like medical ID tags, walkers, prescription medicine, candy and farm equipment on the list of untaxed items.
But though the bill passed both chambers of California's legislature and had the endorsement of the CA state tax board, the Governor appears to believe that candy is more deserving of tax-free status than pads and 'pons. In a statement sent Wednesday, Brown said that he was denying the bill (and six others that proposed other tax cuts, including those for diapers and animal blood), as “Tax breaks are the same thing as new spending -- they both cost the General Fund money...Therefore, I cannot sign these measures."
Garcia responded swiftly, saying in a statement that Brown is “propping up the state budget on the backs of women.”
“My colleagues and I sent a clear message to the Governor. It is time to end this out of date practice and support gender equity in the State of California’s tax code. It’s disappointing that the Governor did not agree."
"Men purchase Viagra and they don’t get taxed. There is no other such tax that’s gender specific in the tax code. Women matter and we need to send that message to the Governor.”
Via Facebook, Garcia says that though Brown's plugged up the bill this time, the fight is far from over, saying "I will keep pushing until we get it done."
Sad @JerryBrownGov vetoed #AB1561 No Tax on Tampons. Let him know your health isn't a luxury https://t.co/41BumOqwnH #wrongsideofhistory— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) September 13, 2016
@JerryBrownGov please mansplain why it's ok to balance the budget on women's backs? He vetoed #AB1561, the unfair #tampontax continues.— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) September 13, 2016