Senator J.P. Morrell recently introduced a bill that would exempt diapers and period products from state sales tax and allow local governments to opt into the exemption as well. Ultimately, the bill failed despite other items such as Mardi Gras beads, doughnuts and Viagra receiving tax-exempt status — items most people can do without. Tampons, pads and diapers are absolute necessities, so why are these products not tax-exempt? Here are a few statistics you need to know about what period poverty is and how you can make a difference in your community.
“Menstrual equality” refers to equal access to hygiene products, but also to education about reproductive health. It’s the focus of a variety of new laws and policies. Advocates are also urging states to exempt menstrual products from sales tax, arguing that they’re a necessity. –“It’s Not Just the Tampon Tax: Why Periods Are Political,” New York Times
What Can We Do to Obtain Menstruation Equality?
• Create access to period supplies at low or no cost to girls and women in need.
• Support legislation to stop the “pink tax.”
Facts you need to know
• Tampons and pads make up a multi-billion-dollar industry–$3.1 billion was spent on menstrual hygiene products in the US in 2017.
• The average cost of a pack of pads is $5.98, while a box of tampons is $7.
• Many women have heavy menstrual bleeding, requiring as many as one pad or tampon every hour—6 to 8 in a day is not uncommon!
Louisiana: What Our State is Doing
• Senator J.P. Morell introduced a bill that would exempt diapers and period products from state sales taxing. Louisiana’s bill did not make it through all the chambers and committees needed for passing.
• To have this bill and others like it passed, people need to contact their legislators and advocate for change.
The Junior League of New Orleans is actively combating Diaper Need and Period Poverty, but implementing change on the government level is crucial to making the biggest impact on the community at large. A simple email or phone call to your representative could positively affect the overwhelming needs of women and children statewide. Find out ways to contact your legislators by visiting senate.la.gov/senators.