By Brittanie Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
A revised bill to end the taxation on feminine products and diapers is presented to California Legislature, adding to the feminist movement conversation.
Assembly Bill 479 (AB-479), an updated version of Assembly Bill 1561 (AB-1561), is the bill that strives to end the taxation on feminine products such as tampons, pads, and feminine cups, as well as diapers.
“It would make feminine products a lot cheaper for families who can’t afford it,” said student Osbaldo Rubio.
The bill was introduced to assembly members by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia.
The bill, which would be enacted on January 1, 2018 if passed, would exempt the taxation on any products “designed, manufactured, processed, fabricated, or package for use of infants, children, or adults,” and feminine products used during menstruation, according to AB-479.
A fear many assembly members have is how would California make up the difference for the tax taken off these products.
The bill also proposes imposing a higher tax on alcohol.
“On and after January 1, 2018, at 2:01 a.m., on all distilled spirits of proof strength or less, an additional excise surtax of one dollar and twenty cents ($1.20) per wine gallon and at a proportionate rate for any other quantity,” according to AB-479.
For alcohol with a higher-proof strength, it would be raised $2.60.
“I think it could be a good step deter people from wanting to use alcohol,” continued Rubio.
“If the demand is high enough, people are still going to pay for it,” said Lead Student Assistant of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), Irene Tobias.
This is not the first time that a bill of this nature has been presented to the California Legislature or in the U.S.
In fact, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed AB-1561 back in September 2016, which proposed almost the exact same requirements as AB-479.
“Each of these bills creates a new tax break or expands an existing tax break. In total, these bills would reduce revenues by about $300 million through 2017-18,” according to a veto letter from the Office of the Governor and Gov. Jerry Brown.
Nationally, women’s rights have been a hot topic. President Donald Trump signed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, a resource for women’s health on April 18.
“I’ve noticed Jerry Brown sometimes lags a little bit on certain issues and then once nationally they seem important, he tends to support them,” continued Tobias.
Will this new decision sway the decision of Gov. Brown? Will the influence of other states joining the “not taxing feminine products” movement change his mind?
“Everything is in a tight spot, money is tight. the more money you can save is better,” continued Rubio.
In a city like San Bernardino, where most of the population are part of low-income families, adding taxes on necessities adds up to daily expenses, and often sacrifices have to be made.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t have access to them and they have to get them from here, or the Den, or Recs Sports has some. A few one or two dollars doesn’t seem like too much, really adds up,” continued Tobias