- Associated Press - Thursday, April 7, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Lawmakers are considering legislation to exempt tampons and other feminine hygiene products from state sales taxes as a national push to abolish sales tax on tampons gathers steam.

New York is considering similar legislation. The Chicago City Council rescinded its city sales tax on tampons and sanitary napkins last month. Other places are considering it, too.

The legislation in Rhode Island’s General Assembly is being considered by committees.

Rep. Edith Ajello, a Providence Democrat, sponsored the House bill. She said it’s time for the state to recognize the legitimate needs of its girls and women.

“To tax these indispensable products is a fundamental inequality,” she said in a statement.



Rhode Island would lose about $1.1 million in sales tax revenue in the first two years, according to a state fiscal note prepared for the proposal.

The legislation would also eliminate the sales tax on disposable home care medical supplies used for managing chronic conditions, such as blood test strips, single use syringes and inhalers.

Sen. Louis DiPalma, a Middletown Democrat, sponsored the Senate bill. He said labeling feminine hygiene products and home care medical supplies as luxury items for tax purposes is a “ridiculous notion and practice.”

A lawsuit recently filed in Ohio is demanding the state stop collecting sales tax on feminine hygiene products, arguing that the tax discriminates against women.

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