New Mexico legislators on Wednesday debated eliminating the state’s sales tax on so-called feminine hygiene products, like tampons and pads. Countries around the world have reduced or eliminated these taxes, and at least 10 states in the U.S. have done away with them, too.
People who menstruate shell out an estimated $23 million per year in New Mexico on these products. Rep. Christine Trujillo, a Democrat from Albuquerque, is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill to do away with the sales tax on tampons, pads, menstrual cups, etc.
"There are a lot of women who do not have the money to actually buy feminine hygiene products," she said. "They’ll wear one particular product for the whole day. It’s a health issue as well."
House Taxation and Revenue Committee members from both political parties pushed back, saying that adding more exemptions to the tax code means less money for the state and higher sales taxes on other products.
"We are punishing women and females for something they have no control over," Trujillo said. "And I believe that they should be given a reprieve on a tax for what I believe is a necessity and not a luxury."
Some argued about the definition of necessity, and about whether a tax on these products constitutes a gender bias.
Eliminating the tax would cost the state an estimated $1 million per year, and local governments $650,000.
The committee is temporarily tabling this and all proposed changes to taxes until there’s a state budget to work with.
Check out the full audio of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee members considering the measure to eliminate a tax on feminine hygiene products.