Gender Discrimination (Just Less of It) Still Ok in Virginia as #TamponTax is Cut But Not Repealed

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Half measures, Virginia. Any tax on menstrual hygiene products is gender discrimination, Professor Emily Waldman and I argue in our article The Unconstitutional Tampon Tax. So cutting the tampon tax lessens the discrimination but fails to eliminate it.

From the (Virginia) Capital News Service, by Emily Holter:

The [Virginia] sales tax on tampons, diapers and other personal hygiene products will be reduced by more than half beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that he has signed SB 1715, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, and HB 2540, proposed by Del. Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg. The bills will lower the retail sales and use tax rate on essential personal hygiene products to 2.5 percent. * * *

The new law will apply to feminine hygiene products and nondurable incontinence products including diapers and other materials.

We know that menstrual supplies and diapers are necessary to leave home for work, school, and social activities,” said Boysko, who called her bill the Dignity Act. “I am so glad we have made progress on the issue of menstrual equity and at long last will have tax relief for these products that women and families have to purchase.”

The law will make these products subject to the state’s reduced sales tax of 1.5 percent, which currently applies only to food. In addition, local governments add a 1 percent sales tax on such purchases.

Boysko had wanted to remove the so-called “tampon tax” entirely. Byron pushed for a compromise on grounds that a tax exemption for personal hygiene products would have a big effect on the state budget.

Why should a state balance its budget on the literal bodies of women and infants?

Relevant Twitter handles include @GovernorVA (for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam), @JenniferBoysko (for State Senator Jennifer Boysko) and @kathybyron (State Delegate State Senator Kathy Byron).

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