4 state legislators reintroduce bills to repeal Michigan’s ‘tampon tax’

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Legislation to exempt menstrual hygiene products from the sales and use tax in Michigan has been reintroduced in Lansing.

State Democratic senators Winnie Brinks of Grand Rapids and Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak and Democratic representatives Padma Kuppa of Troy and Tenisha Yancey of Harper Woods are behind the four bills, including two in each chamber.

Currently, tampons, sanitary napkins, and similar products are taxed 6%.

Last year, Brinks spoke to News 8 about a lawsuit filed against the state, which argues the tax violates both the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions under the Equal Protections Act.

The suit estimated that in the last four years, some 2.4 million Michigan women paid about $27.6 million in state sales tax and the collected taxes accounted for less than .01% of annual state revenue. 

“I think there’s sort of an essential, fundamental justice that needs to occur and these bills would accomplish that,” Brinks told News 8 Thursday, noting there’s some support from colleagues across the aisle but not enough to see a Republican co-sponsor. “I’m optimistic that we’ll get there. It is going to take some work.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has previously signaled support for getting rid of the tax, most recently in her FY 2022 budget proposal. 

“That’s always one of the big questions when we do anything to increase tax fairness that might involve a small decrease in revenue for the state. So it’s important for us to know we have the support of the executive branch. Now we just need the legislative branch to make it a reality and put it in the budget and put it into statute,” Brinks added.

Michigan brings in about $6.5 million annually by taxing menstrual products, according to a 2019 fiscal analysis. That revenue supports the state’s School Aid Fund, which has been a sticking point for bills introduced previously. Whitmer’s proposal would hold the fund harmless, but it would still take legislative action to ensure the loss revenue can be replenished.

Menstrual hygiene products are already exempt from sales tax in 20 states, 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.

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