MICHIGAN — State Rep. Padma Kuppa wholeheartedly believes that women should not have to pay for medical necessities like tampons and sanitary napkins.
She watched a Bollywood movie years ago that influenced her to do something about it.
“This man discovered that his wife couldn’t afford pads and she was using dirty rags and it was unhygienic,” Kuppa said during a Zoom interview on Thursday afternoon. “Even though he was ostracized, he persevered and learned how to make pads that were cheaper so that women in villages could use pads as opposed to these dirty rags.”
Kuppa, who represents House District 41, wrote about it and period poverty in an Indian newspaper. Then, she spent all of 2021 co-sponsoring a bill that would get rid of the “tampon tax.”
“Having products that they need during the times of the month that they menstruate, it’s requirement. They can’t do without it,” she said. “We know that taxing necessities is not a good thing. We don’t tax necessities generally.”
Representative Kuppa said that the bill is nothing new. Lawmakers in the past have tried to get it signed but were unsuccessful. So, this year in February she reintroduced it as part of a package of bills.
READ MORE: Legislation reintroduced to repeal Michigan's 'tampon tax'
“Not only did I get to introduce it but the governor put that in her executive recommendation for the state budget that we would eliminate the tampon tax,” Representative Kuppa said. “It affects our revenue. So, she budgeted for the loss of revenue from the sales tax, which is about $7,000,000 in the course of a year.”
However, the bill has been making the rounds in Lansing, she said.
"As soon as it passes the Senate we have to reconcile between the House and the Senate," she said. "Then it would go to the governor's desk to become a signature to become a public act."
She's hoping that'll happen soon considering a woman occupies the highest seat in the state.
“This is why women are needed in all levels of government because we bring up issues that we face, and you know tampon tax is unfair,” Representative Kuppa said. “It’s a pink tax and so why do those who menstruate have to pay more in taxes for necessities than those who don’t?”
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