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Conn. Legislators Propose Bills To End So-Called 'Tampon Tax'

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Two bills before Connecticut’s State Legislature propose to end the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, like tampons and pads. A lawmaker sponsoring one of the bills says she learned that there was an international movement to rescind what advocates call the Tampon Tax.

Women across the world have protested against taxes on feminine hygiene products, like in Australia, where a protester confronted the country’s treasurer on TV while holding a giant-sized tampon.

And last year, Canada got rid of its federal sales tax on feminine hygiene products after decades of protest.

"I think it’s really exciting that there’s not only national attention on this issue but international attention," said Kelly Luxenberg, Connecticut State representative of Manchester. She and Representative Juan Candelaria of New Haven both have separate bills that would make feminine hygiene products tax-exempt in Connecticut.

"Products that we use when we are doing that they’re not luxuries they’re not superfluous they’re important and necessary," said Susan Yolen of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. She called the legislation good news for women.

Critics of the idea say the tax doesn’t only affect women. In many states, toiletries like soap and toilet paper are also taxed. And then there’s the question of how to make up for lost revenue. Luxenburg said that Connecticut receives $3.6 million each year from the tax on products like tampons.

"3.6 million dollars is coming in. There has to be a way to replace it," she said.

She’s still looking into how to fill that gap. Right now Connecticut is facing a $350 million deficit in the state budget.

The bills are now before the state finance committee. In New York State, a similar bill to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax is also before a committee.

Kathie is a former editor at WSHU.