State of the State: Gov. Cuomo takes on Pink Tax

Women's History

Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton’s Market, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. A bill to exempt tampons and feminine hygiene products from sales tax co-authored by Assemblywomen Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens and Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, was approved by the Senate Governance and Finance committee Wednesday. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Wednesday’s State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo added eliminating the “pink tax” to his 2020 agenda. Potential legislation would require service providers to post standard price lists and would fine any business in violation.

For the past three decades, studies have consistently highlighted cost disparities between substantially similar goods and services marketed for women or men. As growing conversations around the problem have not address it, Cuomo committed to advancing legislation that prohibits gender-based pricing discrimination.

A 2015 New York City Department of Consumer Affairs study analyzed toys, clothing, personal care, and home health sales to find that women’s products were more expensive than men’s 42% of the time. The study showed women’s merchandise costs 7% more on average, with personal care products priced 13% higher. These cost differences have significant and lasting consequences.

The frequency of these purchases translates to compounding monetary burdens for women throughout their lives. Spending thousands more for similar products disproportionately impacts disposable incomes and savings, especially considering the wage gap. The disparity hinders female economic growth, with women of color affected to an even greater degree.

2016 legislation prohibited taxing menstrual products, making New York one of the first states to ban the “tampon tax.” A 2019 law mandated equal pay for substantially similar work and prohibited employers from questioning salary histories—investigations which automatically place women on unequal footing—during hiring and promotion decisions.

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