Starting on September 1, 2016, women in New York will no longer have to contend with a sexist tax on feminine hygiene products like tampons, sanitary napkins and panty liners. This tax on feminine products has been in effect since New York first adopted a sales tax in 1965. Other products such as condoms and Rogaine, were notably exempt from the tax. Politicians and women’s rights advocates in New York are hailing the elimination of the tax as a long-overdue step in the right direction.
“This is a regressive tax on essential products that women have had to pay for far too long and lifting it is a matter of social and economic justice,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo in a press release.
Just a week before Governor Cuomo signed the legislation to repeal the tampon tax, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed a bill that will provide free tampons and pads to public schools, homeless shelters and jails throughout the city.
At the beginning of this year, 40 states had taxes on menstrual products.
Since then, 15 states have introduced legislation or sparked legislative debates that aim to eliminate these taxes. It’s a key component of a nationwide push to destigmatize menstruation and eliminate barriers to feminine products.
In the words of State Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal, “The signing of this bill into law represents a new dawn. Women statewide will no longer be burdened by a lingering tax that was levied at a time when women were not part of government and the decision-making process.”
Hopefully more states will follow suit and pass legislation to repeal their own taxes on feminine products sooner, rather than later.