- On Tuesday, Nevada became the 10th US state to eliminate the so-called “tampon tax.”
- Voters approved State Question No. 2, which means Nevada consumers can now by tampons and pads without paying the 6.85% sales tax, Vox reported.
- Some argue the “tampon tax” puts an unfair financial burden on people who menstruate.
- The policy shift in Nevada is part of a larger movement toward “menstrual equity.”
Nevada residents who menstruate will be saving some money on their future pad and tampon purchases: The state has now eliminated its so-called “tampon tax.”
On Tuesday, Nevada voters approved a ballot initiative called State Question No. 2, meaning tampons and pads are now exempt from the state’s 6.85% sales tax, Vox reported.
Detractors argued that exempting these items from sales tax will cost the state tax revenue (as much as $8.5 million a year, according to an analysis in the Nevada Independent), but proponents contended that the tax unfairly targets women, who are the primary consumers of menstrual products.
“Feminine hygiene products are primarily bought for women and the sales tax on what are medically necessary devices disproportionately affects women. And I think removing a tax like that from our tax code is important in moving towards equality,” Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela, who proposed the ballot initiative, told Marketplace.
Vox’s Anna North also pointed out that the US Food and Drug Administration regulates tampons as medical devices, and other medical devices like splints and bandages are already exempt from Nevada sales tax, according to an official informational booklet explaining the state’s 2018 ballot questions.
Nevada is the 10th state to eliminate the “tampon tax” in a push for greater “menstrual equity”
The “tampon tax” isn’t a tax on tampons specifically. Rather, it refers to the fact that in some US states, certain health and medical supplies are exempt from sales tax, while tampons are not, NPR reported earlier this year.
But in many states, that’s changed. According to NPR’s report, nine other states besides Nevada have already exempted menstrual products from sales tax: Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Florida.
Five other states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon) have no sales tax, meaning the products aren’t subject to additional charges there, either. And lawmakers in a handful of other states have also introduced legislation that would exempt menstrual products from sales tax, the NPR report added.
Some new reports are hailing Nevada’s new policy shift as victory for “menstrual equity,” a political and social movement that views access and affordability of menstrual products as gender equity issues.
“In order to have a fully equitable society, we must have laws and policies that take into account the reality that half the population menstruates,” reads the website for Period Equity, which bills itself as the US’s first law and policy organization fighting to advance menstrual equity.
Getting rid of the tampon tax is one goal of the movement, lawyer Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, who coined the phrase “menstrual equity,” wrote in TeenVogue on Wednesday. But there are other obstacles to overcome, too. Students who don’t have access to menstrual products may miss school during their periods, for example, and incarcerated or homeless women who lack access to menstrual products and may be forced to use unsanitary items instead, Weiss-Wolf explained.
“The economics of menstruation matter,” she wrote. “A good policy can help ensure that the cost of periods does not pose a barrier to anyone’s ability to obtain an education, live with dignity, and participate fully and productively in civic life.”
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