Five Manhattan women are suing New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance on claims that the state’s tampon tax is discriminatory.
According to an article by Newsweek, the lawsuit, filed Thursday, March 3, is claiming that the four percent collected by the taxes from feminine hygiene products “violates the Equal Protection Clauses of the United states and New York Constitutions.” The Equal Protection Clause is part of the 14th Amendment, and it basically states that someone must be treated equally as others who are in similar conditions and circumstances.
In New York, there is no tax on items that are deemed “medical,” such as dandruff shampoo and lip balm. Tampons and sanitary pads, however, are classed as “general merchandise” and have a tax applied to them. The women of the suit argue that it is unfair that these items have a tax on them because they argue that these products are only used by women and having such a tax is discriminatory.
The suit claims that the state collects around $14 million in taxes from that four percent collected, and that the defendants “should be required to follow the law, and return the many millions of dollars they tool illegally at the expense of women’s health.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the suit and agreed in a statement that the tax should be repealed and that they “will work with the legislature to do so.”
A total of 38 states also have a tax on feminine products. Many states, such as Pennsylvania and Minnesota, have successfully stopped the tax while others like Illinois are also following suit.