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It's About Bloody Time: Illinois Becomes 3rd State To Flush Tampon Tax

By Gwendolyn Purdom in News on Aug 22, 2016 4:45PM

(Photo via Facebook)

As if the punch-to-the-gut cramps and stormcloud of irritability wasn't bad enough, women dealing with their periods in Illinois have also traditionally had to fork over an extra tax when paying for products like pads and tampons, long-considered "luxury items" by the state. But ready your Midol confetti, ladies: On Friday, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law ending sales tax on feminine hygiene products. The move makes Illinois the third state, behind New York and Connecticut, to nix such a tax this year.

Charging women more than men for the same (or lesser) products is a widespread practice: according to a 2015 study by New York's Department of Consumer Affairs, lady customers can expect to pay 8 percent more for adult clothing, 7 percent more for toys and accessories, and 13 percent more for personal care items across the board, or approximately $1,300 more a year than men for the same stuff. Of course, in the case of products like tampons and pads, those are purchases most men aren't making at all. Lawmakers across the country have been pushing to lose these so-called "pink taxes" in recent years, with Chicago Ald. Edward Burke (14th) and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) proposing a Mayor Emanuel-backed ordinance in February to drop the 10.25 percent city sales tax from such items.

Friday's state-wide bill was sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Melinda Bush.

"This is just the start of a conversation about the unfair 'pink taxes' women face as they buy products priced higher than similar ones marketed to men, or in this case, as they have to spend on products that men don't," Bush said in a statement quoted in the Tribune.

The new law, which will classify feminine hygiene items as necessities instead of luxury goods, goes into effect January 1st. Similar legislation has been introduced in 12 other states.