Florida just joined the growing list of states that have put an end to the so-called “tampon tax.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a law on Thursday making feminine hygiene products including tampons, pads and menstrual cups tax-exempt, the AP reports. The law goes into effect in January.
The measure was part of a larger $180 million tax cut package.
The majority of states across the country subject menstrual products to sales taxes because they’re considered a “luxury” item.
But opponents of the standard argue that feminine products are a necessity and that taxing them is effectively a tax on menstruation. (The Tax Foundation, the conservative-leaning non-profit, has countered that ideally, sales tax should apply to all consumer products, regardless of whether they’re a “necessity” or “luxury.”)
According to the AP, Florida now joins 13 other states that, in addition to Washington D.C., have exempt menstrual products from sales tax or do not have a sales tax at all. Measures doing away with the tax have enjoyed unusually bi-partisan support in state legislators, prompting media outlets to call them “viral legislation.” Florida, for example, is a politically purple state with a decidedly mixed record on reproductive and women’s rights ― yet the change was supported by progressive and conservative lawmakers alike.
“This common sense legislation will result in a tax savings for women all over the state who purchase these necessary products,” Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), who originally filed the bill, said in a press release.
However, not all states have jumped onboard. California, a traditionally blue state, tried to pass such a measure last year. It failed when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it despite broad support in the House and Senate.
“Women have no choice but to buy these products,” said one California assemblywoman who championed the California bill.
“You can’t just ignore your period,” she added. “It’s not like you can just ignore the constant flow.”
Estimates suggest that women spend more than $18,000 on their periods over the course of their lifetime, between pads, tampons, birth control and new underwear.