Menstrual products now tax-free in Michigan
A law repealing Michigan’s sales and use taxes on menstrual products went into effect Thursday.
State lawmakers had pushed for over a decade to end the state’s so-called “tampon tax” before succeeding last October with the help of significant Republican support in the GOP-dominated Legislature.
In Michigan, medical necessities are not subject to sales tax. State House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp) said feminine hygiene products need to be treated as medical necessities.
“Sales tax matters. It changes people’s purchase decisions. And month after month as women buy these products to stay healthy, we know that that adds up over a lifetime, and we wanted to make sure there was equity there,” Lasinski said.
She said Democrats plan to build upon the momentum of the tampon tax-repeal by pushing reproductive freedom and pay equity bills.
“We have put these ideas forth just as we did with the tampon tax for over six sessions and over 15 bills. We will continue to build coalitions, to build strength, and to work together to vote so we that can ensure reproductive freedom for all,” Lasinski said.
But Republican leadership has signaled it’s unlikely to budge on changing Michigan’s strict anti-abortion laws. Those laws are superseded by abortion protections in Roe v. Wade, but they would take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns that ruling.
Advocates said they are also looking to build on their win by providing free menstrual products in schools.
“There are kids in Michigan who don’t go to school because they don’t have the products that they need when they have their periods. And it just becomes like one more barrier to self-sufficiency,” Lysne Tait, of the group Helping Women Period, said.
She said she believes raising awareness for the need is the first step to getting that done. But she predicted it may be a while before feminine hygiene goods are universally available in schools.
“I just got a call from some people in the UP, and they have girls up there that don’t go to school because they have their periods. And it’s harder to get products up there,” Tait said. “It’s a really widespread issue and I think we need to focus on it.”