Governor Jerry Brown of California vetoed seven bills on September 13th including one that would have made what many people refer to as the “tampon tax”, a thing of the past. The bill, which passed the assembly unanimously in August, would have allowed diapers, menstrual cups,tampons and other feminine hygiene products to be exempt from being taxed as luxury goods.
Many who support the bill argue that tampons, diapers, and other goods that would have been affected are medical necessities like bandages and wheelchairs, which are already tax-exempt. In a statement released by Gov. Brown he defends his decision by stating, “Each of these bills creates a new tax break or expands on an existing tax break. In total, these bills would reduce revenues by about $300 million through 2017-18.”
Losing $300 million from taxes would cost California, a state suffering from a severe drought since 2014, the equivalent of its entire emergency drought response budget; including funding for emergency responses, water conservation, and protection of water supplies.
Even though California is not the first state to propose this tax exemption, it is the most populous state in the nation, meaning that should the bill have been passed it would have set a precedent for other states. Ten states do not tax feminine hygiene products including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland and, as of May 2016, the state of New York.
Although the bill did not pass in California, women have not been discouraged. Dozens of Change.com petitions continue to gain momentum as they reach out to lawmakers to change feminine hygiene products from taxed to tax exempt nationwide.