Sens. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), along with Reps. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) and Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods), have reintroduced legislation to exempt feminine hygiene products from the sales and use tax in Michigan.

Currently, tampons, sanitary napkins, and similar feminine hygiene products are subject to Michigan’s 6% sales and use tax despite these products being essential for those who need them. Senate Bills 153 (Brinks) and 154 (McMorrow), and House Bills 4270 (Yancey) and 4271 (Kuppa) would prevent this tax from being applied to such items.

“I’m pleased to see the governor support our efforts to make women’s needs tax exempt like any other medically necessary purchase in Michigan,” Sen. McMorrow said. “What may seem like small change in taxes adds up month after month. Eliminating this tax burden will give women more spending power to put back into our economy.”

Recently, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduced her Fiscal Year 2022 budget recommendations, which includes a provision that would end the Michigan sales and use tax on menstrual products.

“With the start of a new legislative session, we must make it our priority to repeal the tax on feminine hygiene products once and for all,” said Sen. Brinks. “This tax is a hardship for those who are already having difficulty making ends meet, and it’s something only those who menstruate are forced to pay. There should be no reason to maintain such inequity.”

So far, 20 states exempt menstrual hygiene products from sales tax, including Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington.

“The tampon tax is yet another example of the inequities those who menstruate face in their everyday lives,” said Rep. Kuppa. “Compounded by other socioeconomic barriers and systems of oppression, these ‘pink’ taxes do real damage in the effort to achieve economic parity. These products are medical necessities and our state’s taxation practices must reflect this moving forward.”

In August 2020, a lawsuit was filed against the State of Michigan in the Michigan Court of Claims by three women, stating that the 6% sales tax violates both the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions under the Equal Protections Act. The goal of the lawsuit is to end the taxation of feminine hygiene products and refund people who menstruate.

“Period poverty is a public health crisis. There is no reason someone should pay extra for medical necessities because they are a woman,” Rep. Yancey said. “Eliminating the sales and use tax on these essential products is a big step in ensuring people can afford them. I would also like to highlight the efforts of the students in PERIOD. who have worked with me to raise awareness of this issue and provide economic relief.”