Proposed bill in Washington would eliminate sales tax for feminine products

OLYMPIA, Wash – A hearing is scheduled for Monday afternoon in Olympia on a bill that would eliminate sales tax for feminine hygiene products.

Senate bill 5147 eliminates the tax which authors of the bill say “unjustly adds an additional tax burden on females that creates a tax gap between genders.”

The bill says the “feminine hygiene products are not a discretionary purchase, they are a necessity for which there is no alternative for females to maintain proper health and hygiene” and that the tax adds a “regressive tax burden on low-income families.”

Other states have considered similar bills under the so-called “pink tax” movement, which aims to end price and tax discrimination based on gender.

It comes with a cost to states, however. A New York Times article last year said 10 states have chosen not to tax the items. The article cited estimates from California, which said eliminating the sales tax on diapers and period products would lead to a budget hit to $76 million a year.

A fiscal note on the Washington bill last year said removing the tax would decrease the state revenue by $4.5 million in the first year.

The bill was initially introduced last session but did not make it out of the Ways and Means Committee. The hearing Monday is in front of that same committee.