Good news for folks who get their period and live in the state of Florida: Starting in January 2018, you won't have to pay the so-called tampon tax. If you're not familiar, the tampon tax is a local or state sales tax that deems feminine hygiene products as "luxury items." And thanks to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, the Sunshine State just got rid of it.
On Thursday, Gov. Scott signed into law a $180 million tax cut package that made products such as tampons, menstrual pads, and menstrual cups tax-exempt. As of now, 13 other states and the District of Columbia have done the same, including Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York.
"This common sense legislation will result in a tax savings for women all over the state who purchase these necessary products," Republican State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, who pushed for the exemption in Florida, said in a press release. "Through this bill, Florida stands to join other states that currently exempt these items."
Most states consider feminine hygiene products "luxury goods," instead of necessities such as food and medicine that aren't taxed. However, opponents of this standard argue that tampons and other feminine products are actually medically necessary. (Women can't control when or how much they bleed during their periods, after all.)
Even though Florida doesn't have a stellar track record on reproductive rights, eliminating the tampon tax was supported by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. This has been the case in other states as well: Take Michigan, for example, where two Democrats and a Republican are currently working together to eliminate the state's tax on feminine products.
The tampon tax is not unique to the U.S. or the European Union. However, some countries have completely eliminated it, such as Canada, or never had a tax in the first place, like Jamaica, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Ireland, Tanzania, and Lebanon.
So it's worth asking Congress: When will the U.S. pass legislation on a national level to stop taxing menstruation?