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Michigan legislature votes to end 'tampon tax'

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Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Wolverine State legislature passed a bill last week to end the so-called "tampon tax," which would eliminate sales taxes on all menstrual hygiene products, the Associated Press reported. The vote comes as a movement to end such taxes continues to gain steam.

The Republican-led Michigan state House on Oct. 14 passed by an overwhelming margin the bipartisan measure to eliminate the state's 6% sales tax on menstrual products as "luxury items," the AP said. The bill was sent to the GOP-led state Senate, which passed it easily on Tuesday.

Now the bill is headed to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's desk for her signature. The governor has repeatedly backed an end to the "tampon tax" and is expected to sign the bill in the coming days. The new law would make Michigan the 24th state not to tax menstrual products.

The state's tax on menstrual products accounts for around $7 million in state sales tax revenue each year, the state House Fiscal Agency said, according to the AP. The Republican-controlled legislature's move to eliminate the "tampon tax" will reimburse the School Aid fund for lost revenue as a result of the tax's elimination.

State Sen. Winnie Brinks (D) said the road to get the "tampon tax" eliminated has been a long one, the AP reported.

"This is a common sense move that will reduce an unfair tax burden that is placed on only half of Michigan's population for a significant portion of our lives," Brinks said. "These bills will move Michigan toward a fairer tax structure, which is a goal I think we all share regardless of which side of the aisle we sit on."

Is there really a movement to end the 'tampon tax'?

A group lawyers called Period Equity tracks the taxation of menstruation products.

From the website PeriodEquity.org:

Welcome to Period Equity.

We're a team of lawyers dedicated to fighting for menstrual equity—and to leveraging the tools of law and policy to ensure that menstruation never poses a barrier to civic engagement and participation.

Menstrual products should be tax-exempt. They should be affordable and available for all, safe for our bodies and the planet. Periods should not hold anyone back, period.

According to Period Equity, 23 states currently make menstrual products tax-free: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

Period Equity calls the "tampon tax" an "unfair and discriminatory economic burden" that brings in some $120 million in total state tax revenues annually.

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