AURORA | A plan to exempt menstrual care products from the city’s sales tax — lowering the cost for consumers — received a first OK from a city council committee Tuesday afternoon.
Members of the city’s Management and Finance committee unanimously approved the proposal. Council members Curtis Gardner, Nicole Johnston and Dave Gruber sit on the committee.
Sponsor Allison Hiltz told The Sentinel that the pandemic has made it more urgent to alleviate the cost of menstrual products, including tampons and menstrual pads.
“Period poverty is something that is an ongoing problem, not only in our country, but worldwide. And it’s something that we’re seeing here,” Hiltz said.
She also noted that a federal employment report found that, nationwide, employers cut a net effect of 156,000 jobs held by women in December. Meanwhile, male-held jobs grew by a net 16,000.
Hiltz said that “women in particular have been pushed out of work as a result of many different factors” during the pandemic.
If the proposal successfully snakes through council study sessions and regular meetings, the exemption would cost the city $230,000 annually. That would be about 0.025% of the city’s current $918 million budget.
If approved as-is, the proposal would remove sales tax costs when cashiers ring up tampons, menstrual pads, sanitary napkins, panty liners, menstrual sponges and menstrual cups.
The city has carved out about 25 other sales tax exemptions for various goods and services since the 1960s, from insulin to internet access, prosthetic devices and newspapers.
Denver approved a similar exemption for menstrual products in 2019. A statewide measure to do so failed in 2017, according to city documents.
Hiltz’s proposal also won the support of the city’s business advisory committee this week.