Home Money A bipartisan Ohio House bill seeks to repeal tax on women’s hygiene products

A bipartisan Ohio House bill seeks to repeal tax on women’s hygiene products

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Ohio Statehouse. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

For the first time, the bill will be co-sponsored by Republican and Democrat representatives of the Ohio House

State Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) announced a bipartisan bill to repeal state sales taxes on feminine hygiene products.

The Ohio House passed the last version of this bill, titled HB-61 last December. It was not reviewed before the end of the legislative session.

The purpose of the bill is to repeal the tax on feminine hygiene products such as tampons, pads and menstrual cups. These items are currently regarded as luxury products that are taxed as non-essential. The tax is otherwise regarded as the “Pink Tax,” a type of charge tacked on to women’s products.

“As a conservative Republican, I am strongly in favor of tax cuts that will help Ohioans keep more of their paychecks,” Anatani said at a press conference.

The bill is part of an effort to combat the taxation of feminine products, which can make items cost up to seven percent more than the male version of the product, according to a 2015 study by the New York Department of Consumer Affairs.

Maddie Sloat, founder of the Period Project here in Athens and president of Student Senate, thinks the legislation is a vital step in the right direction.

“I continue to emphasize menstrual products are the equivalent to hygiene products for the people who menstruate, these products need to  be tax-exempt because I think it’s unfair to punish women for something that is natural and is a necessity for them,” Sloat said.

The Period Project is a campus organization devoted to promoting menstrual health. The organization places tampons in Alden Library and piloted the “take a tampon, leave a tampon” program last year.

The statehouse bill is on its third introduction to the house committee. The only new distinction on the third introduction of the bill is the joint sponsorship between Kelly and Antani.

“We’re hopeful because this time we have a Republican joint sponsor, Rep. Antani,”  Hope Lane, legislative aide to Kelly said. “It’s very bi-partisan this time with the most cosponsors that I think I’ve ever seen on a bill, so I think that between the media and the number of co-sponsors it has, it will get reviewed sooner rather than later.”

Nine states have passed bills exempting menstrual products from taxes. Five states, including Ohio, have had similar pending legislation over the past three years, according to a  2017 Tax Foundation survey. Ohio currently taxes menstrual products at a 5.75 percent rate.

“It’s about putting more money into people’s pockets, it’s not just for women, because men have wives and daughters,” Lane said. “Often people say it’s just a couple cents but it adds up if you live in a household with many daughters.”

The reintroduced bill has yet to be assigned a number or a committee but is expected to be reviewed within the next weeks or months, Lane said.

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