Council President Moreno Proposes Eliminating Pink Tax
Lift Louisiana is partnering with Council President Moreno to end local taxes on diapers and feminine hygiene items that are essential health products
NEW ORLEANS -- Like other tax-free health products, diapers and feminine hygiene items are essential products and should be exempt from taxes. While the state legislature has failed to act on this, the New Orleans City Council’s Ad Valorem and Dedicated Revenue Special Committee will take up the issue of the so-called pink tax at its 1 pm Tuesday, August 18 meeting.
“Lift Louisiana has been fighting this sales tax battle with the male-dominated legislature for years,” says Michelle Erenberg, Lift’s executive director. “Former state Senator J.P. Morrell valiantly fought in 2019 to eliminate this gender injustice, but his colleagues allowed the bill to die. Thankfully, we were able to work with Rep. Aimee Freeman on a bill that would allow local municipalities to exempt the pink tax. And we are thrilled Council President Moreno is now moving this forward.”
Erenberg points out that the tax impacts women who are already suffering on the wrong end of the gender wage gap and families struggling to make ends meet. This is especially true for Black females, who represent the largest subgroup living in poverty. New Orleans has the nation’s 9th highest child poverty rate, 39 percent, and abolishing local taxes on diapers would mean families annually saving $73 per child, which is approximately half the bill of a week’s worth of groceries. Likewise, a local tax exemption on feminine hygiene items would save people who menstruate $7.95 per year, and over their lifetime, it would add up to $318.
The total savings for eliminating the pink tax in New Orleans is roughly $1.5 million. Council President Moreno says that the taxes, which place an unnecessary premium on products mostly purchased by women, have always been a burden that’s been worsened by the COVID pandemic.
"A report from United Way of Southeast Louisiana shows that in New Orleans close to 60% of single-family households led by women are living in poverty. Now during this pandemic, the struggles for some families are insurmountable. We must find all different types of approaches to provide aid, and this is one of them. Ultimately, this exemption is common sense. It's also the fair thing to do because let's face it; this tax is discriminatory. Women should not pay a premium on essential products simply due to their gender - it's just wrong," says Councilmember Moreno.
After the Council committee takes up the proposed ordinance, the full Council will vote on it at their August 20th meeting. If passed, New Orleans will become the first city in Louisiana to grant a sales tax exemption on feminine hygiene products and diapers.
Lift Louisiana works on behalf of Louisiana women, their families and their communities. At Lift Louisiana, we know and hold that the term “women” often excludes trans and non-binary people. We recognize the racialized, classed, and ableist paradigm of which bodies get seen and upheld as “woman” or “feminine,” and we reject this paradigm in our advocacy, litigation and partnership work. We uplift the experiences and needs of people across gender identity and expression, sexuality, race, class, immigration status, ability and age.
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