SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois lawmaker wants the state to join others in eliminating the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.
Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) said tampons and other feminine hygiene products are not a luxury but a necessity.
Five states – Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Jersey, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Maryland – have eliminated the tax on tampons. California has seen similar plans this year to eliminate the tax. Some other states don’t tax pregnancy tests, disposable heating pads, or incontinence pads.
Canada eliminated the tax last summer. Petitions in Australia and the United Kingdom call for cutting the tax as well.
Bush said the so called “pink tax” on hygiene items and other women’s products is an example of inequity. Her plan also would eliminate the tax on incontinence products.
The proposal is scheduled to be heard in the Illinois Senate’s revenue committee on Wednesday. Bush said supporters of her plan include Planned Parenthood and McHenry County Citizens for Choice.
The average statewide sales taxes on the products are about 6.25 percent but can be as high as 10.25 percent in Chicago. Illinois Senate Democrats report under Bush’s proposal, Illinois taxpayers who buy feminine hygiene and incontinence products could see a $14.7 million sales tax reduction.
In Utah, an all-male committee of lawmakers voted to keep the sales tax on feminine hygiene products in February. They argued it was an effort to keep their state’s tax system predictable.
Of the 12 members on the Illinois committee hearing Bush’s plan, seven are men. Bush said the gender of the committee members shouldn’t pose a problem for getting her plan approved.
“Most men have women in their lives. I would hope they would understand,” said Bush.