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New York’s tampon tax discriminates against women

Tampons are displayed on a shelf at a

Tampons are displayed on a shelf at a drug store in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Credit: AP

There is no good reason for the state of New York to charge sales tax on tampons and sanitary napkins, and no excuse for the fact that it has done so for so long. These products should be deemed medically necessary and added to the state’s tax-exempt list this year.

A movement is brewing nationally to stop such taxation. New York exempts necessities. That includes groceries and practically anything that can be considered a medical item, including lip balm, foot powder and dandruff shampoo, as well as adult and child diapers.

Five women have filed a class-action lawsuit against New York State arguing that the sales tax on tampons is unconstitutional because so many items used by both sexes are exempt. Bills to end the tax in New York have been introduced in the Assembly and Senate.

Whether the tax exists because feminine hygiene products were not considered necessities or because the men who set the categories don’t appreciate the financial burden on women, it’s time to change.

Society often relegates the needs of women to secondary status. This law costs women money for no good reason, but the fight is not just about the money; it’s about treating women fairly. — The editorial board