When California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed the so-called “tampon tax” bill that would have eliminated taxes on menstrual necessities last week, state Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D), who authored the legislation, encouraged women to speak out about the issue on Twitter using the hashtag #RoyalPeriods.
Today's lesson: my uterus should carry the burden of fiscal responsibility for the state. Thank goodness GovBrown is around to #mansplain it
— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) September 14, 2016
I was just #mansplained that we're being princesses over the #TamponTax & our #periods. Please share your #RoyalPeriod stories with us.
— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) September 15, 2016
Some women did, sharing stories that fly in the face of the notion that menstrual products should be taxed like “luxury” products.
@AsmGarcia Ive crammed wads of toilet paper in my underwear to save $ on tampons. It didn't make me feel like a princess #royalperiod
— Michele S. (@MicheleSleighel) September 16, 2016
Had #PMDD since I was 14 & would bleed so much I'd get anemic, but #tampontax because that was a CLEARLY a luxury, right? #RoyalPeriod
— Nube With A Bowl (@RunningOnGrass) September 15, 2016
The veto was a blow to activists at the local and national level who pressured the state to remove the tax. Rachel Lee and her twin sister Helen, both 18-year-old students at UCLA, created a petition in support of AB 1561 that garnered over 25,000 signatures. The sisters were traveling to deliver the petition to the governor in Sacramento when they heard about the veto.
“Yesterday was not our best day, as we were disheartened, let down, and admittedly angry,” the sisters told Ms. “We were on a train for 9 hours to deliver the 24,000+ signatures on the petition we gathered. We then met with Governor Brown’s deputy secretary and conveyed how upset we were.”
The governor’s office said the bill was vetoed because tax issues are typically addressed in the fiscal budget and not in the form of an assembly bill.
A national movement has been mounting to eliminate taxation on menstrual necessities. Both Illinois and New York eliminated their taxes on these products this year.
Eliminating the “tampon tax” in California would have saved women in the Golden State around $20.2 million per year. Right now, menstrual products are taxed as “luxury” products. Tax exemptions exist for many products across the country. Proponents of the bill argued that items like tampons, menstrual pads and diapers are necessities and should be considered for the same status.
Michele Sleighel is working on her thesis for a MA in Communication at the University of Texas in San Antonio and has an undergrad degree in PR from the University of Texas in Austin. She’s an editorial intern at Ms. When she’s not researching and writing, she drinks coffee and thinks about researching and writing. She’s very proud of her El Paso roots.