California Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Tampon Tax Bill

September 14th 2016

Lucy Tiven

California Gov. Jerry Brown's Wednesday decision to veto bills that would have eliminated taxes on tampons and diapers has many women outraged.

Both bills were passed unanimously by the state legislature, and they mirrored bills recently passed in New York and Illinois, the Los Angeles Times reports.

It's worth clarifying that the "tampon tax" is not a specific tax on menstrual products, as the BBC points out. The term refers to the fact that menstrual products are not exempt from sales taxes in states such as California.


The tampon tax phenomenon has garnered backlash in recent years because taxing tampons suggests they are a luxury good rather than a necessity for over half the population.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), who authored the tampon tax bill, shared rather scathing feedback for Gov. Brown in a tweet.

Brown, for his part, argued that the bills would have been too costly.

California Gov. Jerry Brown

"Tax breaks are the same as new spending," Brown wrote in his veto message.

From the Los Angeles Times:

"Repealing the sales tax would have cost state and local governments $35 million annually, according to the state Senate Appropriations Committee. The tampon tax repeal would have cost $20 million this year, according to the state Board of Equalization."

The decision struck a nerve on social media, where many women launched harsh tweets at the governor and criticized the reasons he said he vetoed the bills.

Twiiter users argued that taxing tampons suggests that women purchase tampons to treat themselves rather than because they are medically necessary.

Others said the decision illustrated the costs of women being underrepresented in elected office.

Some women proposed sending Brown used menstrual products and images of them in protest.

Women occupy over five times the number of seats in state legislatures that they held in 1971, but the gender gap persists at various levels of U.S. government.

Women still remain a minority in congress, Catalyst, a non profit organization dedicated to gender equality in the workplace, explained in a February report. As ATTN: has reported previously, women are poised to take U.S. Senate seats in various U.S. states in November's election. However, there are currently only 20 women in the Senate (which is composed of 100 senators total).

Only six United States governors are women, the report adds.

In a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times, assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who authored the diaper tax bill, asserted that she remains committed to the issue and plans to advocate for future tax reforms.

"We knew from the beginning that making the case for addressing diaper need would be a long journey, and today's disappointing setback just means we'll be back to try again,” Gonzalez said. “We will continue working to achieve sales tax reform and bridge the diaper gap that forces too many of California's working families to struggle.”

[h/t Jezebel]