Our health is not a luxury

Brown’s decision to veto tampon tax is an unfair product of revenue.


Alondra Urizar/ THE CHIMES

Alondra Urizar, Writer

Thanks, Gov. Jerry Brown, for telling women in California their periods are a great way the state makes money.

A Casual Veto

Assembly Bill 1561 vowed to abolish the luxury tax on feminine hygiene products. The bill passed in senate Aug. 18 and in the Assembly on Aug. 23 before they handed it over to Brown, who smacked down the bill with a veto in a casual statement on Sept. 13.

Ask any woman who menstruates: our periods are not a luxury. While I may be luckier than others since my cramps do not confine me to my bed or force me to endure vomiting, other women do not have such “luxuries.”

The bill and six others would create a new tax break or expand another, resulting in the loss of $300 million in 2017-18 alone, according to Brown.

Dedication to the Fight

How is it women’s feminine hygiene products are considered a luxury? We certainly did not pay to have periods nor did we ask for them. For us, these products are literally a necessity, yet medicines, such as Viagra, used to induce an erection are not taxed.

Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Jersey have already removed the tax while 15 other states have submitted measures to remove the tax. Recently, New York joined the list of five other states that do not tax tampons However, 40 states continue to tax feminine hygiene products.

To override a veto, both the Senate and Assembly must have a two-thirds vote. Unfortunately, California’s legislative session concluded Aug. 31. Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia declared she would continue to fight for the bill until it passed.

A $20 Million Discount

Brown, please explain to women in California how “tax breaks are the same as new spending” for tampons. In an analysis completed by the legislative, the state would lose $20 million in revenue from the tampon tax, Reuters reported. That would mean women in California would save $20 million. As a college student attending a private university, every penny counts towards my ever-growing amount of loans I will soon have to pay off after graduation. How can it be fair that men do not have an additional tax when they buy items?

In an interview with YouTube personality Ingrid Nilsen, even President Barack Obama agreed it was a sensible choice women are working together in 40 states to abolish the tax and figured “men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.”

Canada has abolished their own feminine hygiene product tax this past July. The movement here in the United States has garnered worldwide attention with other countries promising to do the same.

Currently, a box of 36 tampons at Walgreens is $8.19 and within the county of Los Angeles, the sales tax has a minimum of 9 percent with 9.5 percent in other cities such as Santa Monica and Culver City and 10 percent in La Mirada. Women who can not afford such “luxuries” are reduced to using rags or even newspapers.

For the time being, Californian women must continue to pay the luxury tax, but hopefully in the near future, women will not be taxed for their biological experiences.

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