More states are eliminating sales tax on feminine hygiene products. In Utah, the legislature considered a similar proposal during their 2017 session.
Rep. Susan Duckworth, sponsor of H.B. 71, attempted to exempt incontinence supplies and feminine hygiene items, such as tampons and disposable diapers, from the state sales tax base.
Rep. Duckworth says these exemptions were intended to protect struggling families and seniors who may be living on fixed incomes.
"At one time or another in our lives, we're going to be using these products and it doesn't discriminate, it's not a male or a female issue, it's a tax-payer issue," she said. "And it's a human right to be able to have these hygiene necessities."
Nicole Kaeding, an economist at the Tax Foundation, warns that too many exemptions may thin the state tax base, leading to higher rates on other goods while negatively impacting state tax revenues.
"What a number of states have done is they've continued to exempt good after good from the sales tax to make it less regressive," Kettering said. "So, for instance, many states do not tax prescription drugs, or they do not tax grocery items, or the do not tax clothing. What ends up happening is you continue to make your state tax base smaller, your sales tax rate has to be higher on all of the other goods that are still taxed."
The bill would have cost the state over 5 million dollars over a two-year period while providing an estimated 7 million dollars in savings for consumers.
H.B. 71 failed to pass for failure to receive a vote in committee. Rep. Duckworth plans to propose her bill again during the next legislative session in 2018.