Chicago Removes Its Tampon Tax —& The State Of New York Is On Its Way To Doing The Same

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Update: The New York State Senate has unanimously passed a bill exempting feminine hygiene products such as pads and tampons from sales tax, just a month after the State Assembly did the same. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign it.

This article was originally published on March 17, 2016.


It's been a pretty good week for women who menstruate. The city of Chicago has ended its tampon tax, and the New York State Assembly passed a bill that would do the same.

Amid nationwide outcry against taxing menstrual products as nonessential items, the City Council of Chicago announced the end of its tampon tax. The issue was put to a vote on Wednesday, and it was unanimously decided that the city tampon tax of 1.25% should be dropped. That said, a statewide tax of 6.25% and sales tax of 2.15% will remain. DNAinfo reports that this decision will take effect in early 2017, at which point the entire state may banish all of its taxes on tampons.

Meanwhile, in the same day, the New York State Assembly passed a bill that would end the tampon tax in New York. This comes after five women filed a class action lawsuit against the state earlier this month. The bill will make tampons, other feminine hygiene products, bandages, and even condoms exempt from the state sales tax.

New York might now join New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota as states that have removed their sales taxes on menstrual products, while Illinois counts among the growing list of states with similar legislation up for consideration.

Whether this will start a nationwide change remains to be seen, but momentum is certainly picking up. For now, we'll consider it a victory that a major U.S. city has chosen to recognize and honor the importance of tampon accessibility for millions of women.

Correction: An early version of this article stated that the state of New York had passed the bill. Refinery29 regrets the error.
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