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Ohio lawmakers propose eliminating sales tax on feminine hygiene products

Tampons, pads and other feminine hygiene products would be sold tax free in Ohio under a bill introduced this week in the Ohio House.

Democrat Reps. Greta Johnson of Akron and Brigid Kelly of Columbus say the “pink tax” on the women’s health items unfairly taxes women for a medical necessity. House Bill 61 would exempt tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins and similar products from sales tax.

Generally, state law exempts medicine and medical supplies from sales tax. Existing sales tax exemptions cost the state more than $5.6 billion a year.

Ohio women pay $4 million a year in state taxes on feminine hygiene products, according to a Legislative Service Commission analysis. Counties and transit authorities tack on additional sales tax.

The average woman will spend over $11,000 on tampons during her lifetime — about $632 in state sales tax at the current state rate of 5.75 percent. Gov. John Kasich has proposed raising the rate to 6.25 percent in his latest state budget proposal.

The bill was introduced during the last legislative session but failed to move out of committee.

This time, two conservative Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors: Reps. Niraj Antani of Miamisburg and Nino Vitale of Urbana.

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