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Delegates introduce bill to remove 'Tampon Tax' in West Virginia

(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 21, 2019 at 5:38 PM EST
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Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates introduced a bill on Thursday that would eliminate sales tax on feminine hygiene products and diapers.

House Bill 2500 states products like tampons, pads, sanitary napkins and diapers for children and adults would be exempt from state sales tax.

"You have to have it. You don't notice prices on things you have to have, so I think taking the tax away from those items is absolutely wonderful," shopper Susie Azevedo said.

Many retail items – including medicine, eyeglasses and firewood – are exempt from the tax.

With stores charging up to $9 for a box of 36 tampons, women will spend more than $2,000 on feminine hygiene products during their lifetimes.

Del. Andrew Byrd was among the delegates to introduce the bill. Byrd said the bill was introduced last year, but it never left the committee. Byrd said the bill has gained a lot of traction this year.

Byrd said the purpose of the bill is to eliminate an unnecessary tax and that taxing on a specific gender is not right.

Women like Azevedo said they hope the bill catches on this time around.

"I hope that men understand it. I hope that, if they don't understand it, ladies send their husbands or significant others out to the store to buy their products and find out how much they really cost," Azevedo said.

The bill has to be taken up by the committee before moving to the House for a vote.

According to the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit think tank, 14 states do not tax feminine hygiene products. Ten specifically exempt them – Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The other five – Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana and Oregon – do not have a sales tax.

A similar bill was

, where state law states that medical products used to treat or prevent diseases can be tax-exempt, but the bill did not make it out of committee.