Newsom Wants to Toss Out State Taxes on Tampons, Diapers

Menstrual products and diapers are considered "luxury" items in California, hence the tax.

Forget leaving things at the “pink tax” — Gov. Gavin Newsom is coming for diapers, too.

On Tuesday, Newsom proposed eliminating the state’s sales taxes on diapers and menstrual products for five years to the benefit of women and parents in the state struggling to afford the cost of living. (Reminder: sales taxes are considered regressive, as they hit low-income people harder.)

According to previous estimates, to do so would come at an estimated cost of $56 million a year but an updated number will come when Newsom submits a revised proposed budget. The idea pushed by advocates for years isn’t novel and legislation with similar goals have made their way to Gov. Jerry Brown. However, he vetoed them in 2016 due to budgetary concerns. 

Newsom isn’t as worried about that. Not only do preliminary numbers indicate the state could receive a $1 billion tax windfall, but it falls in line with the governor’s push to bring some relief to parents in the state. His budget from January included a tax credit for low-income parents with kids under six years old of up to $1,000 and on Tuesday, he proposed doubling that. The budget also included increasing paid family leave by two weeks and expanding subsidized child care.

“As anyone who takes care of kids can tell you — these costs add up,” said Newsom, who has four children, in a statement. “From diapers to childcare, raising kids is expensive wherever you live. But when you factor in the cost of living here in California, it is close to impossible.”

Tampons, pads, menstrual cups, and diapers are considered luxury items, not essential, and not exempt from the sales tax. Ten other states took on the “pink tax,” the term for surcharges on certain products or services for female consumers, as have countries like India.

The updated 2019-2020 budget proposal is expected to be revealed on Thursday.

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