This week an all-male panel of lawmakers in Utah refused to end the state's sales tax on tampons, voting 8 to 3 against the Hygiene Tax Act.
The committee (again, all men) shot down the proposal because it wanted to keep the tax system predictable and believed that allowing for subjective variations on the tax code would only cause problems, according to reports.
Specifically, state representative Ken Ivory—one of the eight "no" votes—worried that exempting tampons would open the door for all kinds of crazy requests for exemptions, according to CBS News. And Billy Hesterman, with the Utah Taxpayers Association, told media outlets that passing the bill—which would have axed the tampon tax as well as a tax on incontinence pads and children's diapers—would result in $1 million in losses over the next year, money that would have to be recovered elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Representative Susan Duckworth, who introduced the bill, argued during the committee meeting that "personal hygiene is a right," adding, "We're entitled to this."
Sure, the male committee members' arguments may *seem* logical, but a quick look at the state's tax code reveals that they're pretty much crap. Utah backs exemptions for a lot of random things! All of which could be considered "unpredictable"—and all of which could contribute to the state's bottom line if they were taxed.
Here are just a few of the exemptions we found in Utah's tax code:
- Sales from vending machine items under $1. (DORITOS FOR EVERYONE.)
- Fees for unassisted amusement devices, such as arcade games (YES, ARCADE GAMES!!!).
- Sales of hay.
- Sales of alcoholic beverages to an airline for in-flight consumption.
- Sales of newspapers or newspaper subscriptions (gotta get that Salt Lake Tribune, otherwise you might die).
- Sales of decorative coins "containing at least 50 percent gold, silver, or platinum that is not legal tender of any nation." (Um, okay.)
- Sales of snowmaking equipment to a ski resort. (Gotta have it!)
- Sales of unassisted car washes.
- Sales of molten magnesium. (Very specific.)
There are more, but I'll stop.
As I revealed last year, Utah is one of 40 states that considers tampons "luxury goods," rather than "necessities," which makes the products subject to sales tax in the first place. The state could have been one of the first to end the tax but instead voted to continue to make women pay for their periods.
I wasn't in the room, but it seems likely the proposal was shot down at least in part because, as President Obama suggested last month, the lawmakers doing the voting don't have periods. Period.
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.