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State Sen. Phil Boyle wants sales tax on toilet paper eliminated

State Sen. Phil Boyle speaks in Brentwood on

State Sen. Phil Boyle speaks in Brentwood on March 14, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

New York State's sales tax on toilet paper could soon be flushed down the drain.

State Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) introduced a bill Thursday to eliminate the state's sales tax on household toilet paper and tissues.

Boyle, a second-term senator, said sales tax exemptions are generally granted to "necessities" including medicine and prosthetic aids. But he said the state's list of nontaxed items and services is a "hodgepodge" that includes products such as magazines and comic books.

The combined state and county sales taxes in Nassau and Suffolk are 8.625 percent, which includes the 4 percent state sales tax.

Boyle contends the toilet paper tax is regressive and hits low- and middle-income families particularly hard.

"I can't think of anything more necessary than toilet paper," he said. "Even Bill Gates needs toilet paper."

Seven states do not tax toilet paper, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, said Boyle, who has asked the state Taxation Department to look at the cost of lifting the tax.

Boyle said he expects his Senate Republican colleagues to support the bill.

A spokesman for Assembly Democrats did not respond to a request for comment but Boyle said there is bipartisan interest in the bill from both chambers.

It's unclear whether the Senate will take action on the measure before the legislative session ends on June 17. The bill would take effect in January 2016.

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