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A lawmaker is worried women will hoard tampons during sales tax holiday and shocker, he's a man

A lawmaker is worried women will hoard tampons during sales tax holiday and shocker, he's a man

Yes, of course, a 3-day tampon tax exemption is the one thing we women are waiting for to stock up on a lifetime worth of pads, liners, cups, and douches.

As some states prepare for a back-to-school "sales tax holiday" in the upcoming months, lawmakers in Tennessee are seemingly losing sleep over a new proposal on their desks. Introduced by Sen. Sara Kyle, the bill (SB 1724) recommends the addition of feminine hygiene products to the list of items exempted from sales tax during the state's 3-day summer weekend. However, some of the Republicans on the committee—all of whom are men—are worried Tennessee women will go on a sanitary product shopping spree and cost the state precious tax revenue if the bill is passed. Because, of course, tampon tax exemption is the one thing we women are waiting for to stock up on a lifetime worth of pads, liners, cups, and douches.



 

According to CNN, Tennessee's annual sales tax holiday is held from July 31 to August 2 with the aim of promoting back-to-school shopping. As of now, the tax exemptions "apply to purchases of clothing ($100 or less per item), computers ($1,500 or less), and school and art supplies ($100 or less per item)." However, Sen. Kyle is now looking to alleviate some of the costs of feminine hygiene products for the state's 1.8 million women between the ages of 15 and 55.

"I come to you today with a very small plea: that we take the tax off these products for just one weekend," she said during a hearing for the bill on Tuesday. "I am urging a very small amount of dollars, but it sends a large signal that our state is taking a very important step in recognizing these products as a necessity and are an essential part of women's health." According to Forbes, Tennessee women spent about $120 each year on feminine hygiene products. At a 7 percent state sales tax, their annual sales tax on these products comes up to roughly $8.40 each.  If passed, Kyle says her proposal will cost the state a mere $133,000 in annual revenue of its total $40 billion budget.



 

 



 

 

Sen. Joe Hensley, however, believes that number is too high. "Sen. Kyle, do you have a way to replace the funds?" he asked. Explaining his concern during the meeting, he said, "Since it's a sales tax holiday, I don't see how you would be able to put a limit on the number of items somebody can purchase." As you may already be aware, "tampon tax" has been a hot topic across the country for the last couple of years. Following the nationwide call for tax exemption on feminine hygiene products, eight states—Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Utah—have completely eliminated the controversial tampon tax.



 

 



 

 

According to Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Period Equity co-founder and vice president for development at the Brennan Center for Justice, California is also currently trying out the tax exemption with a temporary ban in place until 2023. Weiss-Wolf believes Kyle's bill could be a good step forward in ensuring female students aren't forced to skip school during their periods. A recent study revealed that 1 in 5 teenagers struggle to afford sanitary products or haven't been able to purchase them at all. One in four has missed class due to not having access to these basic necessities.



 

"We should be thinking about menstrual products as school supplies. There are surely things that students in school need to be successful, productive, present and engaged in their school day... if your parent can't afford tampons or pads on the day your period comes because their paycheck doesn't come until five days later, that doesn't help you be successful in the classroom for the days you need it," said Weiss-Wolf. Kyle now has one week to explain how she will replace the tax revenue the state loses by exempting sales tax on feminine hygiene products during the 3-day holiday. A week she was granted only because the one woman on the committee, Sen. Brenda Gilmore—a Democrat, recommended it.



 

"This is an uncomfortable conversation to have, but there are even some young girls who even use rags and cloths because they can't afford feminine products. We should not have our young girls be subjected to this humiliation," Gilmore said at the hearing. If by some stroke of luck Kyle manages to convince the Republican male lawmakers to pass and sign her bill into law, the earliest it could go into effect is July 1, 2020.

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