SAN ANTONIO – State House Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) says her consciousness was raised by a group of young people who pointed out a discriminatory practice -- a state sales tax on menstrual products known as tampon tax.
“We have to make sure that we are not putting an extra penalty on girls, women, their families, especially when females earn less on the dollar than their male family members do,” Howard said.
Her efforts to pass a tampon sales tax repeal have failed three times. The proposal was moved to the next level during the last legislative session but failed to be placed on a calendar. She plans to file a similar bill again this coming November.
“Though it’s a small dent in the cost of the products, it still goes toward not discriminating, for one thing, but also putting some money back into people’s pockets, because we have found that what has been labeled period poverty is a real issue,” Howard explained.
Andrea Elizondo is the co-founder of Texas Menstrual Equity Coalition, an organized grassroots effort to repeal the tax on female hygiene products.
“A sales tax is more expensive on people with lower incomes. The minimum wage in Texas is still $7.25,” Elizondo said.
The average cost of a box of tampons is about $7. The group is demanding that the state consider period products a medical necessity.
“It’s also an economic injustice. It’s a health issue because you don’t want people using the products that are not meant to be menstrual products” to save money, Elizondo said.
Howard said Texas women brought in about $42 million in taxes over two years out of a $250 billion budget. She is also pushing for a bill to make children and adult diapers tax-exempt.
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