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New Ordinance Could Make Tampons Cheaper, To Our Delight

By Mae Rice in News on Feb 12, 2016 7:50PM

(Photo via Facebook)

Local taxes on tampons and sanitary pads could be lowered if a new ordinance proposed by two Chicago aldermen passes.

The ordinance, proposed by Ald. Edward Burke (14th) and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) on Wednesday, would remove all city sales tax from tampons and pads—which are currently subjected to the same 1.25 percent city sales tax as luxury goods, the Reader explains.

"This tax only affects women. Is that fair?" Burke said in a statement. "These are not luxury items, and Chicago needs to lead the way in eliminating this unfair tax."

Overall, tampons and pads are subject to a 10.25 percent sales tax in Chicago, which the Reader reports breaks down into a 6.25 percent state tax, a 1.75 percent county tax, a 1.25 percent city tax, and a 1 percent Regional Transportation Authority tax.

The proposed ordinance would reclassify the basic feminine hygiene products as “medical appliances,” rendering them exempt from city taxes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is already on board.

"I think it's the right thing to do, an appropriate thing for us to look at,” Emanuel said at the Wednesday City Council meeting where the tax decrease was proposed.

The aldermen also recommended reclassifying feminine hygiene as medical appliances at a state level, which would lower the state tax on tampons from 6.25 percent to 1 percent.

"Removing the tax in Chicago and lowering it in Illinois would help to make these products more affordable to women, especially poor women," Hairston said in a statement.

The alderman’s proposal to rescind city sales tax on tampons and pads will now be considered by the Chicago’s Committee on Finance, of which Burke is chairman.

Burke’s power on the committee does not guarantee the resolution’s success though, at least in the eyes of the Tribune. “The longest-serving alderman has a lengthy history of proposing headline-generating ordinances that don't always become law,” according to the paper.