Senators form bipartisan team to scrap ‘tampon tax’
Lansing — Two Michigan Democrats and a Republican lawmaker are seeking to scrap the state’s so-called tampon tax, referring to when the 6 percent sales tax is slapped on feminine hygiene products.
Democratic Sens. David Knezek of Dearborn Heights and Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor are sponsoring a two-bill package that is also backed by Grand Ledge Republican Sen. Rick Jones to prevent the sales tax from being applied any longer to products that include hygiene products such as pads and diva cups.
“I will never know what it’s like to experience menstruation,” Knezek told fellow senators during a Wednesday floor speech.
But he said he does know what it’s like to buy tampons and was irate to learn that the state applies the sales tax to them. The state generates in $5 million a year from such feminine hygiene products, Knezek said.
The two bills are identical to legislation that Warren and Knezek sponsored last session, when the Republican leadership didn’t hold committee hearings on them. This time around, Jones is joining as a co-sponsor.
Jones said he doesn’t recall seeing the bills last year. But he says he jumped on board immediately after he heard about it on Tuesday.
“I walked over to (Sen. Warren’s office) and co-sponsored the bills. It seems like good common sense,” he said. “I think many people don’t consider it medically necessary — they consider it a luxury item. I think that is totally ridiculous.”
The sales tax was originally meant for “luxury items,” Knezek said, adding that menstruation is not a luxury.
“Women are subjected to extra taxes every month as they seek to address their health needs,” he said. “Women have no choice but to purchase these items every month of every year.
“We do not tax canes, we don’t tax eyeglasses or other medically necessary items,” including erectile dysfunction medication, Knezek said.