Gov. Brown vetoes bill that would end ‘tampon tax’

Columnist Katie Haga

Columnist Katie Haga

As a woman, I can honestly sayhaving a period once a month isn’t fun and definitely isn’t a luxury; but the state of California is trying to tell us otherwise.

Tampons and other feminine hygiene products have been deemed “luxury items” and are taxed as so.

Those who oppose the tampon tax agree menstrual products should serve as tax-free medical necessities. After all, menstruation isn’t a choice but rather a mandatory situation women endure.

Women generally experience menstruation between the ages 12 and 50 and the average price of a box of tampons is $7.

Not to mention the prices of panty liners, pads, Midol, heating pads, replacing stained underwear and all of the chocolate cravings that come with this particular week, I refer to as “shark week.”

As if the pain of cramps wasn’t enough, looking at our bank accounts after a week of hell causes more pain.

California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia introduced a bill Jan. 4, proposing an end to tampon tax.

“Basically, we are being taxed for being women,” Garcia told the Washington Post.

Men simply don’t understand the frustration women have, being taxed for something we have no control over.

Although there was immense support across the state, as well as countries like the UK, Netherlands and Ireland abolishing a similar tax, Governor Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 1561 on Tuesday.

Once again, a man making decisions for women. In his veto message for the bill Brown said, “Tax breaks are the same as new spending.”

Along with the veto on tampon tax, Brown vetoed six other bills including one that would end a tax on diapers.

But why? Because according to Brown, they would cost the state budget too much money.
Perhaps since the issue has nothing to do with men, the tax exempt shouldn’t even be considered.

Rogaine, a hair growth product primarily aimed towards men, is exempted from taxes. Weird, I didn’t know that was considered a medical necessity.

In order to be successful with the gender equality process we should start off small. Perhaps reconsidering the luxury tax on feminine products would be a good start.

There are a handful of states where tampons are tax-exempt, recently including New York and Illinois, but the debate is continuously gaining momentum.

In 2015, a woman in London ran a marathon without a tampon to fight period shaming and to take a stand for women around the world who don’t have access to menstruation products.

Social media has also helped try to end the stigma surrounding periods through trending hashtags such as #HappyToBleed and #FreeTheTampons.

If men’s masculinity wasn’t so fragile, and if the topic of feminine hygiene didn’t make them so uncomfortable and they understood the vagina and menstruation, this tax wouldn’t exist.
But that’s just the way it is.

This seems to be a man’s world and women just happen to live in it.

We will never reach success in gender equality if we can’t even recognize t feminine hygeine products aren’t luxuies that should be taxed.