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Push for Tax-Exempt Tampons Fires Up CT

(CN) - Pledging to abolish what she calls a "discriminatory" tax on women, a Connecticut lawmaker reintroduced a bill to exempt feminine products from the state sales tax.

Though Connecticut's sales tax exempts certain necessities and medical supplies, including adult diapers, Rep. Kelly Luxenberg called it unfair that tampons and sanitary napkins do not make the cut.

"Why should we be taxed on our biology?" asked Luxenberg, a Manchester Democrat who noted that only a handful of states exempt these "necessary" products from taxes.

In addition to tax exemptions for tampons on the books in Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, five other states have no sales taxes, bringing the total number of states where women can buy them without a tax up to 10.

According to TrackBill, there are bills to eliminate the tax on tampons and sanitary pads pending in California, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Though Luxenberg introduced a similar bill last year, this year she has some help.

Rep. Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven, has also introduced legislation to exempt tampons and sanitary pads from Connecticut's 6.35 percent sales tax.

"It's gender injustice," Candelaria said. "Why are we penalizing women for having a menstrual cycle?"

Candelaria said he wants the General Assembly to have the discussion.

YouTube personality Ingrid Nilsen asked President Barack Obama about the so-called tampon tax last month.

"I have to tell you, I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items," Obama said in January . "I suspect it's because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed."

The president urged women to "work to get those taxes removed."

Luxenberg's and Candelaria's bills were both referred to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. It's unclear yet if they will get a public hearing.

The tax on tampons and sanitary pads brings in about $3.6 million a year, and the state is facing a nearly $570 million budget deficit.

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