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Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bipartisan bill Thursday that calls for the removal of sales tax from feminine hygiene products in the state.
Once deemed “luxury items,” tampons, pads and other related products were previously subject to a six percent sales tax in Michigan.
“After years of trying to repeal this tax, I am proud that we are bringing people together to put Michiganders first and drive down costs on these essential products,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Everyone should be able to take care of their most basic healthcare needs without an unnecessary added financial burden. Tomorrow, I will sign the second bill in the package to repeal this tax and cut costs for families as we usher in a new era of prosperity for Michigan.”
“While it’s a small savings per purchase, those taxes have historically added up over a lifetime for one-half of Michigan’s population, and not the other. It’s a small change with a big impact,” Democratic state Sen. Mallory McMorrow said.
Republican State Rep. Bryan Posthumus said he doesn’t consider the repeal of the tax an issue of gender or partisanship.
“This legislation allows us to reduce taxes while improving public health by eliminating an unnecessary tax on very necessary items,” he said. “This is about putting money back into the pockets of Michigan families – and we did that here.”
“By simply eliminating unnecessary taxes on these very necessary items, we can make a big difference toward improving public health and putting money in the pockets of our constituents,” Posthumus said during discussions on the Michigan House floor.
“This is a small step that will make a big impact.”
The two measures define feminine hygiene products as, “tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins, and other similar tangible personal property designed for feminine hygiene in connection with the human menstrual cycle,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
College student Brionne Davis recalled her struggles with affording menstrual products while she was in high school.
“Period products are not cheap whatsoever,” said Davis, an 18-year-old Detroit resident.
At the time, Davis was able to rely on Detroit-based nonprofit Alternatives for Girls and its stock of donated products. But, now as a student at Wayne State University, she told the Press she had to pick up an extra job to make sure she can afford hygiene products on her own.
Rebekah Page-Gourley, affiliate director of I Support the Girls Detroit said with these bills becoming law, advocates finally feel heard.
“The really important thing to remember is that for low-income women in households, every tax on essential products is that much more of a burden,” she said.
The tax repeal is estimated to cost the state of Michigan around $6.3 million per year, which the House Fiscal Agency vowed will not be taken from school budgets, according to FOX 2 of Detroit. Annually, Michigan collects around $11 billion in sales and use tax revenue, and will now be one of only 23 states that do not collect taxes from the sale of menstrual products.
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