With increasing hopes that a third iteration of a bill to exempt menstrual products from a sales tax, the Alameda City Council offered a resolution in support of Assembly Bill 31.
Alameda is believed to be the first city in the state to endorse Southern California Assemblymember Cristina Garcia’s legislation.
Councilmember Malia Vella, who issued the referral, along with Councilmember John Knox White, to urge the council to weigh-in with a resolution, said, “Tampons–menstrual products–are essential items. There’s no reason they should be taxed. These aren’t luxury items.”
“It’s really about menstrual equity throughout the world and, while we are doing well in terms of women not having to stay home or be isolated or confined while they are on their period, we could do a hell of a lot more for a first-world country and I think that takes a step toward not taxing items that are necessary for women to go about and continue their lives.”
The resolution was strongly supported by a number of local high school girls who addressed the council Tuesday night.
Tampons and sanitary napkins add an estimated $20 million annually in extra costs for women in California, an added expense that also hurts women in low-income households.
Eleven states do not tax feminine hygiene products, the closest to California being Nevada. Assemblymember Rob Bonta is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
Garcia’s AB 31 is the third attempt for a tampon tax exemption since 2016.
In 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown took a hard budgetary stance and vetoed a no tampon tax bill that was unanimously approved by the Legislature. “Tax breaks are the same as new spending,” he wrote in the veto statement. Another attempt stalled in the Assembly in 2017.
Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said she was dismayed that Brown vetoed the 2016 version of the bill and called the council’s action to endorse AB 31 a “no-brainer.”
If AB 31 is ultimately approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state will not reimburse cities and counties for loss sales tax revenue, under the current version of the bill.
Alameda may be able to offset any slight decrease in revenue. Last November, Alameda voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase.