Florida Governor Rick Scott is set to sign a tax cut bill which would, among other things, eliminate sales tax on women’s hygiene products related to menstruation.
It is a surprisingly good decision for the Republican governor who often makes decisions which are contrary to the best interests of his constituents.
The elimination of sales tax on tampons and menstrual pads is a part of an $180 million tax cut package which also includes a three-day tax holiday in August. As has been done many years in the past in Florida, this brief tax holiday allows families to prepare their children for the upcoming school year by purchasing supplies and clothing without the additional cost of sales tax.
Fortunately, the sales tax elimination on women’s period products will extend much longer than a weekend and, beginning January of 2018, will permanently be purchasable without paying sales tax to the state.
The thinking behind the decision is clear: advocates believe women should not be monetarily penalized for purchasing products that are necessary to their reproductive lives when men have no need to purchase the same products. These products are not something women buy because they want to, but rather because they are necessary for sanitation at a high frequency.
To this end, tampons and menstrual pads have been added to the list of “common household remedy” products that are exempt from sales tax.
Designating certain products at the grocery store to be tax exempt is not new or unusual. In many states, grocery items are tax exempt, meaning that your bread, milk, and bananas can be bought tax-free. While this is true in many states, other states tax them as usual or provide them at a lower tax rate.
Even the removal of the so-called “Tampon Tax,” is not unique to Florida. Currently, at least 12 states do not apply sales tax to tampons and menstrual pads, a growing number.
So for once, we applaud Governor Rick Scott for his positive action for women in Florida. They may not be able to afford healthcare or have unpolluted air and water, but at least the ladies of Florida can have their necessary patches of over-priced cotton tax free.