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Hamilton: Republicans are playing games with women’s health on International Women’s Day

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On Monday, March 4, the House passed an amended version of Senate Bill 256 which included a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products. However, this provision was removed behind closed doors during the final negotiation period between the House and the Senate today, March 8.

State Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis), who has proposed legislation to nix the state's “pink tax” several times over her years as a Representative, released the following statement: 

“Menstrual products are basic necessities.  Taxing them creates an unfair financial burden on women and girls.  Similar to food, prescriptions and medical devices, these products should be exempt from taxation.

“Just days ago, the House passed a provision to exempt female hygiene products from sales tax only to strip the language today. Republicans are making another harmful-to-women policy decision on International Women’s Day.

“Indiana is currently tied with Tennessee and Mississippi for the highest tax on menstrual products at 7%. 1 in 5 Hoosier girls struggle to afford feminine hygiene products, and women in Indiana pay approximately $5 million in sales tax on menstrual products every year.  The provision removed from SB 256 would have brought us closer to a more equitable tax structure and allowed working women and Hoosier families to keep more of their hard-earned money. 

“One of my long-time priorities during my time as a lawmaker has been relieving this unfair financial burden on women. It is past time for Indiana to join the majority of states in eliminating the tax on items essential to more than 50% of the population.” 

Hamilton authored a bill in 2020 to create a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products and offered the same bill in 2021. Neither bill was granted a hearing. Additionally, she offered an amendment with the same provision in 2017 and another amendment in 2022. Both amendments were defeated.

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