Sue Serino

February 11, 2016


ALBANY, NY—State Senator Sue Serino (R, C, I—Hyde Park) and Assemblymember  Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) announced today that they are working on legislation that would finally exempt feminine hygiene products, such as tampons and sanitary products, from the state sales and compensating use tax.

“It’s time we apply common sense to our tax laws. Essential products should be exempt from sales and use tax and to consider tampons and sanitary napkins non-essential is utterly absurd,” said Senator Sue Serino. “To consider that we exempt cupcakes and circus performances from the sales tax in New York State, but not feminine hygiene products, is beyond comprehension.”

“Tampons are not a luxury item, full stop,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Yet New York State law treats them as such by subjecting them to sales tax. The tampon tax is a regressive tax on women and their bodies that harkens back to a time when the laws were written by men for women. It is high time that we stopped taxing women’s bodies.”

Currently, many essential items including medicine, medical equipment, and products consumed by humans for the preservation of health are exempt from state sales tax in New York. Because feminine hygiene products are necessary for women, they should be similarly.

Senator Serino continued by saying, “Like many of our tax laws, the tax on feminine hygiene products is out-of-touch and it is time that we continue to turn rhetoric into reality.  I urge my colleagues in both houses to make this bill a priority this Legislative Session.”

The bill (A.7555/S. 6726) has three prime co-sponsors in the Senate, Senator Catharine Young, Chair of the Senate’s Finance Committee; Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of the Senate’s Health Committee; and Senator Joe Robach.

Senator Catharine Young (R, C, I—57th District) said, “Every woman is impacted by this issue at some point in their life. Buying these items monthly is expensive and the sales tax on top of it really adds up to be a financial burden. By bringing tax relief to medically necessary products, we are easing New Yorker’s budgets and ensuring a better quality of life for women across the state.”

Senator Kemp Hannon (R—Nassau) said, “Let us be clear—feminine hygiene products are essential and the burden of paying this tax largely falls on the shoulders of New York’s women. It is time we remedy that. In a state where you can buy potato chips without being taxed, but feminine hygiene products are not viewed as a ‘need,’ it is clear that our prehistoric tax laws require some overhaul. That starts with accurately reflecting the needs of New Yorkers and this bill is a step in the right direction.”

Senator Joe Robach (R, C, I—56th Senate District) said, “I am always happy to look for ways to reduce the tax burden for residents in New York State, but additionally, this care product should never have been taxed in the first place as it is a medical hygiene necessity.”

In the Assembly, the bill is cosponsored by Assemblymembers Arroyo, Fahy, Hooper, Pichardo and Seawright.  It is multi-sponsored by Assemblymembers Galef, Glick, Lupardo, Lupinacci, Markey, McDonough, Russel and Simon.