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Michigan 'tampon tax' officially no more

Starting Thursday products can be purchased tax free
Posted at 7:34 AM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 07:55:24-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The so-called tampon tax in Michigan, a sales tax placed on menstrual products, is officially no more starting Thursday. Individuals can now head to the store and purchase these products sales tax free.

The products have long been touted as a "luxury item" and not as a necessity is why the tax was in place. Things like food and certain medical supplies are sales tax-free due to their necessity, and now menstrual products are added to that list.

It's an effort that's been in the works for years. Individuals like Lysne Tait, executive director of the non-profit Helping Women Period, have been hard at work trying to get those taxes repealed.

"Period products are expensive. And when they were taxed, that was even more of a bite. It's not something yo,u can't not buy," she said.

The taxes were removed when a pair of bills passed with bipartisan support and were signed by the governor in November. Michigan State Senator Winnie Brinks was a sponsor of the bill and calls it common sense.

"I think at its heart it's an unfair tax," she said. "It's a tax that affects only half the population for something that we have absolutely no control over."

Beginning Thursday people can purchase tampons, pads, menstrual cups and other feminine hygiene products without the 6 percent Michigan sales tax.

In the course of a year, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University Paul Isely says, it will only save the average woman about 8 dollars, making the tax repeal more of a statement than having major financial implications.

"Monetarily it's going to be a pretty small effect," he said. "Really what it is, is the confidence of being valued."

Putting men and women on more equal playing fields Senator Brinks says.

"I think it's at the very least an opportunity for us to really put ourselves on equal footing in this one small way," she said.

Bills to repeal the tax on menstrual products have failed in the past, stalling in the Michigan legislature and committee. According to the legal organization Period Equity, Michigan now joins 22 other states who have removed taxes on menstrual products. 27 other states still have the tax.Tait says it's time for all states to follow in Michigan's footsteps as the tax disenfranchises women, specifically young girls.

"It's amazing how many girls in the US don't go to school because they don't have the products they need. And I think that's just doing us, our society, a real disservice," Tait said.

She says the next logical step she would like to see get done is free menstrual products provided at all schools. It's something some schools, like Grand Valley State University, already offer.

" I know that's been a big push on our campus as to get these products more accessible for folks who need them," Grand Valley Center for Women and Gender Equity interim associate director Leah Short said.

Other lawmakers are putting their focus on removing sales taxes on diapers for kids and adults. Currently, 10 states don't have a sales tax on these items and they want Michigan to join that list.