Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs 'tampon tax' repeal

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Bath Township — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Thursday to repeal taxes on the sale of feminine hygiene products, saying the legislation would make a difference for "every menstruating Michigander."

The long-sought reform removes the unfair "tampon tax," which only half the state's population has to pay, Whitmer contended during an event at the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

Surrounded by state lawmakers, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs legislation to repeal the "tampon tax" on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.

"By repealing the tax on menstrual products, we are saving families from paying taxes on up to $4,800 in spending over the course of a lifetime," Whitmer said. "And this is a bipartisan tax cut."

The governor signed one of two bills Thursday that will ultimately exempt feminine hygiene products from the 6% sales and use taxes. The legislation will reduce government revenues by about $6.3 million per year, according to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis. The bill describes "feminine hygiene products" as "tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins and other similar" items.

Twenty other states have already removed their "tampon taxes," Whitmer said.

Thursday was a "historic day," said Lysne Tait, executive director of Helping Women Period, a nonprofit that supplies menstrual health products to people who are either homeless or low-income.

"The burden of this sales tax on necessary healthcare items promotes period poverty and impacts the amount of money families have to spend on other necessities," Tait said. "This is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to the day when no one has to worry about affording menstrual products, month after month."

Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grands Rapids, one of the sponsors, labeled the bills "common sense." 

cmauger@detroitnews.com