SC lawmakers to consider ending “tampon tax”

Columbia, SC (WSPA) – South Carolina lawmakers will consider ending a tax some of them say is unfair to women. The state charges the full sales tax, plus any local-option sales tax, on feminine hygiene products, even though some other health care items are tax-free.

“I was astonished,” says Rep. Chandra Dillard, D-Greenville, when she found out about the tax, which some call a “luxury” tax. “We’re talking about feminine hygiene products, which are really not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

She says lawmakers will look for a way to get rid of that tax.

Rep. Cezar McKnight, D-Kingstree, agrees that feminine hygiene products should be tax-free. He was also shocked to find out that they’re not provided for free in the restrooms of state buildings.

“As a guy, obviously, I’m oblivious to that,” he says. “But when I heard it it shocked my conscience because, I’m like, that’s a basic life function, so why don’t we provide them? So I felt the necessity to submit a bill to require our state buildings to have sanitary napkins and tampons, in hopes that, once the state does, what the state does the private sector will follow.”

He introduced the bill this past Tuesday in the House. He doesn’t know how much it would cost to provide tampons and pads in state buildings. “I find it ironic the first thing everybody asks is, ‘What does it cost?’ Well no one asks what toilet paper costs, so why are we asking what this costs? I think the cost will be nominal in that we’re not going to go out and buy the best of the best, just like we don’t go out and buy Charmin for all our buildings. We buy generic, buy bulk.”

He says he doesn’t think the tampon tax and not providing them in state bathrooms was an intentional slight toward women, but is more likely a result of the majority of state lawmakers and state agency heads being men who just never thought about it.

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