COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - For many women, buying feminine hygiene products each month is expensive and, right now, women are paying a 6% sales tax on all of these products.
It’s been termed the “Tampon Tax” and 33 states still have it. However, South Carolina might be getting rid of it this year with a bill the was pre-filed in the House.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Charlette Blakely said. “It’s a necessity and I think South Carolina has high taxes on everything versus other states.”
House Bill 4717, also known as the Female Health and Wellness Act, would eliminate the tax on feminine products in July 2020.
Period Equity, an organization spearheading the fight for the end of the sales tax, reports that the government is making about $150 million each year on the sale of things like tampons and pads.
In South Carolina, it’s a total of about $3.5 million collected annually, which is why some supporters of the bill want to keep that revenue coming. However, people who oppose the bill, like Cheryl Jenkins, disagree.
"There are things that happen every month that we have no choice and no control and they really need to be free since it’s a part of the human condition,” Jenkins said.
Over the last two years, other states have eliminated the tax including Nevada, New York, Florida, Connecticut, and Illinois. However, the tax still exists in 33 states.
This tax exists not only in many states but all around the world. Places like Hungary, Sweden, and Argentina all have over a 15% sales tax on feminine hygiene products.
“Because most of them are men and they don’t care,” Blakely said.
Many women said the tax shows a disconnect between government officials and citizens.
“They need to come in the grocery stores and go shopping. They might just find out what things cost and they might do better with their policies and legislation,” Jenkins said.
There was a bill actually proposed in 2016 that would have provided free products in all women’s restrooms in state buildings, but it never passed.
Jenkins also said she feels like women’s products are more expensive in general. A consumer affairs report found this to be true, reporting that, if you are walking down an aisle at the drug store and picking up things like razors, shaving cream, or antiperspirant, you are going to pay more for the pink product than the blue one.
This has been dubbed the Pink Tax, where women pay extra for the same products as men. It’s not an actual tax, but rather a term that refers to the extra money women pay for products and services than equivalent products for men.