Today the Ohio House of Representatives voted 84-1 to eliminate the state sales tax on menstrual hygiene products. House Bill 545, a larger tax bill, had significant bipartisan support. The bill included the exemption for menstrual hygiene products contained in HB 61, legislation proposed in February, 2017 by State Representative Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and former State Representative Greta Johnson (D-Akron).
Here’s an excerpt from today’s press release from Representative Kelly’s office:
“Eliminating the tampon tax will put more money into the pockets of women, in-turn strengthening the families they support and nurture,” said Kelly. “I am thankful we were able to come together to even the playing field for women, girls and families on medically necessary products. No one should face extra economic challenges simply because of their gender.”
Not only does taxing menstruation-control products present economic issues for women and families, but also potential health consequences. Without proper feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads, women are at risk of developing health complications such as vaginal infections, disease and even infertility. The medicine prescribed to treat these problems is tax exempt, but the products that can prevent them are not.
“The percentage of working women in Ohio is growing, but they still face burdensome costs that men do not,” said Kelly. “I hope that during the next General Assembly, we can continue working on policies that ensure no one in Ohio is left behind.”
According to a fiscal analysis from the Legislative Service Commission, Ohio women give the state nearly $4 million in annual taxes from purchasing medically necessary feminine hygiene products. If HB 545 is signed into law, Ohio would join 15 other states embarking on the tampon tax push to exempt feminine products from sales tax.
The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
The bill is especially timely given that there is active class action litigation in Ohio seeking elimination of the tax on menstrual hygiene products and retroactive relief from tax paid in prior years.
All eyes on the Ohio Senate!