Of all the things that are tax-exempt in most states, feminine hygiene products are usually not one of them. Yet a prescription for Viagra is, as are a number of other items in your local drug store. NPR reports that only a handful of states – nine total – have abolished the so-called “tampon tax” on menstrual products on the basis of gender discrimination.
Many states don’t tax health or medical products like prescriptions or vitamins, but for some reason, menstrual products are not often included in this category. Only in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are feminine hygiene products exempt from taxes.
Five states – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon – have no sales tax, so the citizens in these states are not directly affected. But the rest of the 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, still impose a sales tax on items like pads and tampons.
Now, five more states are moving toward eliminating the “tampon tax” next. That includes Arizona, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin. Other states, like California, have been reluctant to give up the revenue taxing feminine hygiene products bring (As much as $20 million to the state), but if the issue is about making these products more financial accessible, then every little bit helps.
That’s because some studies have found evidence of a “pink tax” – an extra upcharge on products aimed at women. One study conducted in New York found over 800 products with gendered pricing discrepancies.
Personal care products were sometimes 13 percent more expensive for women then they were for men.
So not only do women, on average, earn less, we get charged more for everyday necessities.