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House Democrat advocates for cutting taxes on feminine hygiene products

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis-area Democrat is taking another crack at rolling back taxes on feminine hygiene products.

Rep. Gina Mitten sponsored a similar bill last session, but it wasn’t given a public hearing.

House Bill 41 would reduce the state sales and use tax for feminine products like tampons and sanitary pads to that of the retail tax rate of food. 

Mitten says it is a nonpartisan issue and thinks “women across the state of Missouri recognize that feminine hygiene products should not be taxed at the same level as a board game.”

The so-called “tampon tax” has been an issue in several statehouses in the last couple of years. A new Illinois law, which took effect in January, dropped the state sales tax on feminine hygiene products, leaving just local taxes. 

The bill “does not seek a complete repeal of all taxes,” Mitten said. Considering feminine hygiene products are a necessity for many women, she added, they should not be treated as a luxury.

The state sales tax rate for non-food items is 4.225 percent. Mitten’s bill would lower the rate for feminine hygiene products to 1.225 percent, the same levied on food items.

The tax burden for hygiene products can be higher in some municipalities, due to local sales taxes. For example, Mitten said the total sales tax rate in Edmonson, a small community in northwest St. Louis County, including state, local and special taxes, is 10.863 percent.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the bill will receive a public hearing. If it passes, the proposed tax reduction wouldn’t take effect until Oct. 1, 2018.

Follow Krissy on Twitter at: @krissyrlane