MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) – These are products more than half of the population will need at some point in their life, but disparities still exist for people trying to access menstrual products in Vermont.
“These products are a necessity for women across the board,” said Sen. Ginny Lyons. “We shouldn’t be taxing something that’s so absolutely necessary.”
Lyons sponsored a bill that’s now passed unanimously in the Vermont senate. It will ban sales tax on pads, tampons and other menstrual products. Right now, there’s a 6% percent tax on these items. For something needed each and every month, that money can add up quick.
“The state is going to lose some mone, but that loss of revenue is certainly offset by the value it provides to some individuals,” Sen. Lyons said. “It is 2021 and its about time we’ve done some of these things.”
More than 20 states are considering eliminating the tax, too. Lyons says there’s a separate bill in the works that would provide menstrual products in schools across the state at no cost to students, something that would have been helpful for Vermonter Shanta Lee Gander.
“No one explained anything to me about what I was supposed to do with these things,” she said while sharing her story with Voices of Periods, a movement to help end the taboo and stigma around menstruation. “It was all a mystery given I had kept it a secret for 2 years prior.”
She recalls her mother associating it with contamination. Gander says she only had one pack of supplies, leaving her in a crunch during that time of month.
“So I had to look for a substitute, tube socks,” she said. “The cotton kind were the perfect substitute and easy to hide and wash with my underwear or other laundry, or dispose of.”
If the governor signs the bill, banning the tax will take effect this summer.