Earlier this month, Michigan’s House of Representatives advanced legislation that eliminates the “tampon tax”: the 6% sales tax that is currently applied to menstrual products, which are currently considered “luxury items”. If this legislation is both passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Whitmer, Michigan will join the 20+ other states who have either ended menstrual taxation or never taxed those products in the first place. This list of states includes Ohio and Minnesota, according to AP News.
Although the tax brought in more than $7 million in government revenue annually, Gov. Whitmer has stipulated that this money will not be taken from the School Aid Fund. The state does not tax various other types of medication or other medical supplies.
This tax is great news for menstruating people everywhere, who do not choose menstruation, as pointed out by Claire Wittlieff, ‘24.
“I feel that this will majorly benefit [people who menstruate] because it will lower the cost of products, and yet it may lead to a bigger conversation around the importance of said products.”
Similarly, lifting the tax “will benefit women greatly” and that this is “a great move towards financial equality” for women, said Kate Stymiest, ’22.
“There is no reason there should have been a tax on menstrual products to begin with, so I’m happy to see this happening,” said Stymiest.
Although the lifting of this tax is a step in the right direction, there is still plenty of work to be done.
“While getting rid of the 6% tax is a great step in the right direction, we can’t deny that the regular price of menstrual products can be absurd,” said Wittlieff, who also mentioned education has a barrier for people who menstruate.
“While students typically learn sexual education in middle school/high school, I believe there should be a more in-depth focus on periods. There is a lot of misinformation that is spread about menstruation,” said Wittlieff.
People who menstruate, especially people of color who menstruate, still face considerable barriers to financial and medical equality.
“For women of color, sometimes it’s even harder medically speaking because our body functions in a different way than others, which makes some health issues very common for us but might not be common for women who are not of color.” said Prarthita Nath, ’22.
“Women in poor countries often have to choose between buying menstruation products and medications or food.” said Marwa Assiad, ’24, highlighting the financial barrier.
The legislation passed in the house by a bipartisan vote of 94-13 and is supported by several organizations including the MI Department of Treasury and the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.