SOUTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — South Carolina lawmakers are pushing to eliminate the state’s long-standing sales tax on feminine products. It’s known as the “tampon tax.”
Most products that line shelves across the state are stamped with a sales tax. Items deemed as necessities, including groceries, medical supplies, and prescription medications like Viagra, are not taxed.
“I know that basic necessities like food aren’t taxed because everyone needs it,” Mary Dawkins said. “It’s a basic right, so I think feminine products fall under that category as well.”
South Carolina is one of 22 states with a sales tax on menstrual products. It brings in about $4.5 million annually.
“It’s really a discriminatory tax,” said Period Law legal director Suzanne Herman. “I mean, you are talking about something that only people who menstruate are paying as opposed to the other half of the population who will never need to buy these products, but menstruators cannot go to work or school with dignity without them.”
A South Carolina House bill introduced in January passed unanimously this week. It exempts tampons, pads, menstrual cups or any item used for a menstrual cycle from a sales tax.
“It is time for South Carolina to join the other states,” said Karen Dudley-Culbreath, executive director of Project Period, an advocacy group headquartered in South Carolina.
“It further burdens those already living in poverty, giving another level of poverty, being period poverty,” Dudley-Culbreath said.
The bill still must be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk to be signed into law.