North Dakota rejects tampon tax exemption
- Feb 1, 2017 | Gail Cole
Legislation seeking to exempt tampons and sanitary napkins from North Dakota sales and use tax was soundly rejected last week. Only three senators voted in favor of Senate Bill 2254, while 43 cast votes against it. Had it passed, the bill would have cost the state an estimated $1,037,000 in the 2017-19 biennium.
Tampon tax exemptions, as they are popularly known, have received a lot of press in recent months and have been enacted in a number of states (e.g., Connecticut, Illinois, and New York). The District of Columbia Council approved an exemption for feminine hygiene products and diapers last fall (it’s waiting for final approval from Mayor Muriel Bowser and Congress); while in Texas, six lawmakers have introduced legislation that would exempt feminine hygiene products.
Advocates of exempting feminine hygiene products argue they should be exempt because they’re essential for menstruating women. Indeed, many states exempt a variety of “essential” products, such as food ingredients and prescription medication (including Viagra). However, other items that are just as essential, such as toilet paper, are taxable — a fact noted by North Dakota Sen. Judy Lee (R-West Fargo) shortly before she cast her vote against the bill.
Bill sponsor Larry Luick (R-Fairmount) did not advocate for its passage, instead urging his fellow lawmakers to “vote as they wished.”
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photo credit: classic_film 1965 Ad, Pursettes Tampons, Pretty Girl in Various Fashions, Swimsuit, Sportswear, Dress via photopin (license)