AURORA | Aurora’s City Council voted for a final time to eliminate the city sales tax on diapers Monday, making Aurora the first city in Colorado to waive local sales tax collections on both diapers and menstrual products, according to sponsor Curtis Gardner.
“This is a companion ordinance that really helps families in our city … both those with infants and then also adult diapers as well,” Gardner said. “This really does have a wide-ranging benefit in our city.”
The council voted to lift the 3.75% city sales tax on tampons and similar items in 2021.
Gardner also framed the measure in the context of a Colorado House of Representatives bill that would waive the state sales tax on diapers and menstrual products, a goal that has earned bipartisan support.
Council members voted 6-3 on Monday to waive the sales tax on diapers and adult incontinence products, with council members Danielle Jurinsky, Angela Lawson and Dustin Zvonek voting “no.” Councilmember Francoise Bergan was absent.
Jurinsky and Zvonek both said they would support a broader tax-cutting measure but not Gardner’s targeted cut, which Jurinsky characterized as arbitrarily “cherry-picking” an item to exempt from the tax.
“My hope is that, instead of creating yet another carve-out in our tax code, that we would look at a way to have a comprehensive, across-the-board reduction,” Zvonek said, adding that a broad cut would allow residents to keep more money while encouraging people to shop in the city.
“I understand and I truly do sympathize with the desire to try to lower the cost of living for our residents, but I don’t believe that this is good policy. It might be good politics, maybe. But I think it’s bad policy,” he said.
Gardner said he was “somewhat flabbergasted that the supposed fiscal conservatives on council do not want to support a tax cut that will benefit, essentially, everyone in our city,” including young children and the elderly.
Council progressives also supported the measure — Juan Marcano said he thought the council could do more to ensure residents are making a living wage but that he saw the waiver as “a little bit of harm reduction” that “could do some good.”
According to information included in the council’s agenda packet, the waiver will cost the city around $575,000 in lost sales tax per year. The waiver is scheduled to go into effect June 1, 2022.