Did you know Texas is one of only 22 states left in the United States that still considers period products to be “nonessential?” Legally, menstruation is a luxury and therefore subject to sales tax up to 8.25%. Makes sense. Who among us hasn’t gotten her period and thought… “Ahhhh, luxury!” In Texas, food like eggs, flour, and milk are essential and untaxed. Newspapers, containers, wholesale items… all essential and untaxed. Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications? Not taxed. Tampons and pads? Taxed to the hilt. And because they are, women and girls in need cannot use aids like WIC, the Lone Star Card, food stamps, or other programs designed to help those living in poverty pay for the period products they need. It’s beyond discriminatory. It’s embarrassing.
Now is the time to change those dynamics and thankfully, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, and the Texas legislature appear ready to agree. But the fight’s not over. According to the Texas Tribune, “proposals to eliminate the sales tax on menstrual products, spearheaded by state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, have come before the legislature every session since 2017. None of those bills have made it to the governor’s desk.” That said, responding to years-long appeals from women’s organizations across Texas including She Supply, it seems this legislature may finally be ready to repeal the “pink tax” on period products and do the right thing.
Presently, there are at least eight House bills addressing the period tax under consideration in Austin including HB70, HB300, and HB510. On February 23, HB70 and HB510 – “relating to a sales and use tax exemption for certain feminine hygiene products” – were officially “read” and referred to the Ways and Means Committed in the Texas Legislature. From here the bills will be discussed prior to an eventual vote where hopefully they will be approved by the Texas House and signed into law by Governor Abbott. While the indications are that the bills have support, nothing is over until it’s over. There is still more work to do.
To add your voice, call your local Texas State Congressperson and tell them to vote YES on:
- HB 70
- HB 510
Tell them the time is now to stop discriminating against Texas women and to reclassify period products as essential items that should not carry an added “luxury” tax. She Supply is fighting for underprivileged women and girls throughout North Texas, but this is an issue that affects all of us.
To find out who represents you in the US Congress and Texas Legislative Bodies, visit this site.
To look up the status of a Bill introduced during the 2023 Texas Legislative Session, visit this site.