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Michigan’s $7 million ‘tampon tax’ is officially over

tampon
Michigan women and their families no longer have to pay sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. (Bridge file photo)

LANSING — As of Thursday, Michigan women and their families no longer have to pay the state’s so-called “tampon tax” on feminine hygiene products.

In November, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation exempting menstrual products from the state’s 6 percent sales and use tax. The repeal officially took effect this week.

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Part of a two-bill bipartisan package, the legislation was an effort that began more than five years ago with the introduction of similar bills that had repeatedly stalled. 

The state collected $7 million in tampon taxes each year, according to nonpartisan fiscal agencies. The state’s tax code had classified menstrual items as “luxury goods,” even though medical supplies (but not over-the-counter drugs) are exempt from the tax.

“After years of trying to repeal this tax, I am proud that we brought people together to put Michiganders first and drive down costs on these essential products," Whitmer said in a statement this week. “Everyone should be able to take care of their most basic healthcare needs without an unnecessary added financial burden.”

House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski of Scio Township said the repeal will save Michigan women lots of money in their lifetimes. According to estimates from the American Association of University Women of Michigan, the average woman may spend $4,800 on menstrual products, which would include about $288 in state sales taxes. 

“Eliminating this burdensome tax has been a priority for the Democratic Caucus and Michiganders for a long time,” Lasinski said in a statement this week. “Together with our colleagues across the aisle, we enacted legislation that will have a lasting impact on people who menstruate and taxpayers across the state. I'm glad to see it to the finish line, taking us one step closer to a fairer and more equitable Michigan.”

According to Lysne Tait, executive director of the nonprofit Helping Women Period, the repeal is the first step in recognizing and addressing issues of women accessing menstrual products.

“One in four Michigan menstruators cannot afford enough product every month, preventing them from working and going to school,” Tait said in a statement this week. “This is an economic cost we all bear.”

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