A bill to repeal the tax charged on menstrual health products stalled last week in the Assembly Appropriations Committee with Chairwoman Gonzalez-Fletcher holding it on suspense.
The bill was the second attempt by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) to create a gender neutral tax code. Last year, the bill passed through the legislature nearly unanimously only to be vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown who cited a resulting loss of funds if the tax is removed.
“It’s disappointing that the Chairwoman didn't prioritize moving California towards a gender neutral tax code in California,” said Garcia, who is also chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “It’s yet another year women will be taxed for their biology on basic health items that are absolutely essential.
"Fortunately, the Governor and our legislative leadership still have the ability to do right by the women of this state and include this measure within the budget bill this year. It is my hope that their sense of equality will prevail.”
Currently, due to the Governor's veto last year (AB 1561, 2016), women in California still pay over $20 million annually in taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins, paying on average $7 a month for 40 years.
Garcia's bill to provide free menstrual health products in schools, AB 10, did pass out of Assembly Appropriations and will be voted on next week by the Assembly.
Last year New York, Connecticut and Illinois passed legislation to make menstrual products exempt from the sales tax, bringing the total number of states exempting the products to eight.
California law exempts health items like walkers, medical identification tags, and prescription medication, including Viagra. Tampons and sanitary napkins are not exempt.