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Menstrual, Baby Products Would Be Tax Exempt Under Proposals

Louisville Democratic Rep. Attica Scott has filed a pair of bills for the upcoming legislative session that would eliminate the sales tax on menstrual products and baby supplies.

The proposed exemptions would remove the 6 percent sales tax on tampons, panty liners and other menstrual products as well as diapers, breast pumps and baby bottles.

Scott said the proposals would help poor Kentuckians by eliminating a tax on essential items.

“These products are products that we as women and girls have to have, they’re not optional,” she said. “If we at least can remove the sales and use tax from those feminine hygiene products we’re making life a little more manageable for women and girls.”

Scott filed a similar proposal to exempt menstrual and baby products from the sales tax during the 2018 legislative session, but it never received a hearing.

An official estimate of that bill’s financial impact predicted that the state would have lost about $15 million in tax revenue over two years if it had passed.

Scott said that the state would be able to recover some of that revenue as consumers make purchases with money they saved.

“As people are able to save money with the feminine hygiene products and the baby products, they’re able to then spend it on other necessities,” Scott said.

At least nine states have exempted menstrual products from the sales tax, including Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida.

Kentucky's Republican-led legislature overhauled the state's tax code for the first time in decades in 2018, expanding the sales tax to a variety of services like auto repairs, pet grooming and laundry, raising the cigarette tax, and creating a flat tax on corporate and individual incomes.

Lawmakers have expressed interest in passing more tax changes during the upcoming legislative session, especially by removing the sales tax from admission fees for nonprofit events.

The General Assembly begins on Jan 8.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.

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