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Is this the year the General Assembly eliminates the tampon tax?



“This is a women’s health and women’s rights issue,” said Representative Moira Walsh (Democrat, District 3, Providence). “I know there are much bigger and louder issues that happen at the State House regularly, but this is very much about the quality of a person’s life.”

Walsh is referring to bills H5307/S0049, that would exempt from the sales taxes on “products used for feminine hygiene in connection with the menstrual cycle.”

“My community is one of the lowest socioeconomic groups in Providence,” continued Walsh. “There are young women, girls, students and workers who miss work every month because they don’t have access to affordable feminine hygiene products. There are girls who are missing important school days. There are women who are taking sick days because they can’t afford the basic hygiene products that they need.”

This is the fourth year that the Rhode Island General Assembly has taken up the issue of eliminating the sales tax on feminine hygiene products. “I like to say the third year’s the charm, but we’re beyond the third year,” quipped the Senate of the bill, Louis DiPalma (Democrat, District 12, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton).

From a general revenues perspective, continued DiPalma, it’s roughly about $600,000. “In a general revenue budget o about $4 billion dollars, I believe we can afford $600,000.”

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“This is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said DiPalma. “This clearly affects women more than men, it clearly affects women period, more than men.”

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.