Washington, D.C. Eliminates Pink Tax

After years of deliberation and work through the democratic process, Washington, D.C. officially eliminated the tampon tax. A major success for women’s equality, began on October 1st, when the Council of D.C. stated that “no sales tax will be charged on feminine hygiene products."

Mayor Muriel Bowser of D.C. stated that the pink tax is eradicated “because feminine hygiene is a necessity, not a luxury."

The process:

The legislation, Feminine Hygiene and Diapers Sales Tax Exemption Amendment Act, was originally introduced on April 5th, 2016. After being signed through the mayor’s office and approved by Congress, the amendment was officially put into action on October 1st, 2018. Even though the act was signed and passed in 2016, Mayor Bowser was unable to fund the “provision in her budget until fiscal 2019” which began on October 1st.

What is included:

The sales tax exemption applies to tampons, sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, and “comparable products.” D.C.'s new law joins a small group of other states that have gotten rid of such taxes, which includes neighboring states like Maryland.

Other tax related changes:

Also, as of Monday the 1st, D.C. increased taxes on liquor and cigarettes according to The Hill. Additionally, the Council’s draft raised Washington D.C.’s sales tax from 5.75 percent to 6 percent which matches Maryland and Northern Virginia.

What does this mean for us?

This enactment is a huge win for women fighting for gender equality in D.C. and across the nation. Residents buying feminine hygiene products will no longer be faced with a sales tax for items that are a necessity. The ongoing fight against the pink tax has been a long and tedious one. Now that the nation’s capital has eliminated it, D.C. can serve as a model to the rest of the country to implement nondiscriminatory laws and move toward financial equality among men and women. 

Further changes needed:

Although this action is progress toward gender equity, 32 states continue to sales tax feminine products and 5 states are processing legislation to eliminate the pink tax. To see which states have and have not made changes, you can see this map which shows state by state the types of sales taxes implemented across the country. It’s amazing to see D.C. making steps to close the gender discrimination gap and create strides for women’s equality but there is still progress to be made.

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