Mar 10, 2023 - News

Utah's tampon tax lives on while other states ban it

Period product taxes by state
Data: Alliance for Period Supplies; Note: Includes legislation that went into effect in January 2023; Map: Madison Dong/Axios Visuals

Utah is in a shrinking minority of states that still tax menstrual products, with a dozen states now considering a halt to the sex-specific revenue stream.

  • 23 states already banned sales tax on period products, and five others don't have a sales tax, Axios' Kelly Tyko reports.

By the numbers: The average cost of menstrual products is about $20 per monthly cycle and adds up to about $18,000 over the average woman's lifetime, the National Organization for Women estimated in 2021.

  • One in four people in the U.S. who need period products can't afford them, according to the nonprofit Alliance for Period Supplies.
  • Tampon prices rose in the first half of 2022 by nearly 10% and pads by more than 8%, a NielsenIQ report found.

Catch up quick: Utah lawmakers voted in 2019 to exempt menstrual supplies from sales tax.

  • But the measure was part of a larger tax reform package which was quickly repealed after public outcry because it also raised the sales tax on groceries while lowering income tax rates.
  • Bills to eliminate the tampon tax have repeatedly been shot down by mostly and all-male legislative committees.

Yes, but: Gov. Spencer Cox last week announced an order to make period supplies available free of charge in state buildings.

  • Meanwhile, Utah's public schools are required to stock free menstrual products in bathrooms after students spoke publicly about bleeding through their clothing and missing class.
  • Salt Lake City has stocked period products in women's restrooms in city-run facilities since 2019.

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