'Tampon tax' one step closer to being repealed in Illinois

By Mary Hansen
Updated 3/9/2016 5:34 PM
  • Melinda Bush

    Melinda Bush

Women in Illinois soon could pay less for tampons, pads and other feminine hygiene products if state officials decide to approve a sales tax cut on the items.

An Illinois Senate committee approved legislation Wednesday from a suburban Democrat that would remove the 6.25 percent state sales tax from these products as well as adult diapers. It can now go to the full Senate for further review.

"Items like tampons and sanitary napkins are taxed as luxury items, but all women know periods are not a luxury," state Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat who proposed the bill, said.

Five other states, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts, have repealed a similar state tax on feminine products.

The Illinois proposal met some resistance from state Sen. Pam Althoff, a McHenry Republican, who suggested that legislation wasn't necessary. Instead, the Illinois Department of Revenue could reclassify these products as medical appliances, as has happened in the past, and tax them at 1 percent, she said.

The Senate committee approved by a unanimous vote, though, keeping the plan alive.

Illinoisans spend around $14.7 million per year on feminine hygiene products and adult diapers, according to the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

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