LANSING, Mich. — Today Senators David Knezek (D–Dearborn Heights) and Rebekah Warren (D–Ann Arbor) introduced legislation to exempt tampons and other feminine hygiene products from state sales and use taxes.

“The state of Michigan clearly needs a better definition of what’s medically necessary,” Sen. Knezek said. “It’s time to update the tax code and acknowledge that dealing with menstruation isn’t a luxury.”

Under current Michigan law, menstrual products are considered optional luxury items subject to government sales and use taxes. These products cannot be expensed under a health savings account, despite being a basic medical need for more than 50 percent of the population. In addition, low-income individuals who rely on food stamps cannot use government assistance to purchase maxi pads or tampons.

This taxation of medically necessary products and lack of government assistance, compounded with the fact that women already pay more for many everyday products, can present specific monetary challenges to those living in poverty. The fair, regressive tax exemptions outlined in these bills benefit everyone. 

“The bottom line is that this is an outdated and discriminatory tax,” Sen. Warren said. “Women should not be forced to pay a 6 percent penalty when they buy medically necessary items. We don’t tax prescriptions drugs, canes or eyeglasses — feminine hygiene products should be no different.”

SB 898 will exempt tampons and other feminine hygiene products from Michigan’s sales tax, and SB 897 will exempt tampons and other feminine hygiene products from Michigan’s use tax. Both bills have been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

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