Ohio lawmakers push to end sales tax on diapers, tampons, pads

Baby diapers, tampons and sanitary pads should be exempt from state sales taxes, according to two state lawmakers who plan to introduce two bills to bar taxation on the products.

State Reps. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, and Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati, plan to introduce two sales tax exemption bills — one on feminine hygiene products and another on diapers for babies and toddlers. And they’re getting support from PERIOD, a non-profit group that seeks to mandate free tampons and pads in all university building restrooms, eliminate menstruation taboo and repeal taxes on tampons and pads.

Antani and Kelly are hosting an Ohio Statehouse press conference on Tuesday along with Anusha Singh, president of the PERIOD chapter on Ohio State University's main campus.

Ten states exempt feminine hygiene products from sales taxes. In recent years, Ohio lawmakers have considered bills to end the “Pink Tax,” which is estimated to cost women as much as $4 million a year.

In December, the Ohio House voted 84-1 in favor of a bill exempting tampons and pads from the state sales tax but the legislation failed to make it out of the Ohio Senate before the end of the two-year legislative session. The only opposition vote came from state Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati.

Related: Ohio lawmakers vote to end sales tax on feminine hygiene products

Disposable diapers in a baby’s first year typically run $800 to $900 so the sales taxes can add up to $42 to $72 a year, depending on where they are purchased in Ohio. Women typically spend about $70 a year on tampons and pads, plus another $3.70 to $5.60 in sales taxes. A woman will have about 500 periods during her lifetime between puberty and menopause.

Ohio does not apply the sales tax to medicine or medical devices. Advocates for ending taxes on feminine hygiene products argue that tampons and pads aren’t optional — they are medically necessary.

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