Gov. Brown Vetoes Attempt to Waive Tampon Tax

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Female lawmakers call the tampon tax a burden.  (Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday rejected an attempt to waive taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products along with other proposed tax breaks, saying lawmakers should propose such ideas as part of the annual state budget process rather than as one-off exceptions.

In all, the seven tax breaks the Democratic governor announced Tuesday that he had vetoed would have added up to $300 million a year, he said.

"As I said last year, tax breaks are the same as new spending — they both cost the General Fund money. As such, they must be considered during budget deliberations so that all spending proposals are weighed against each other at the same time," Brown said in a news release accompanying his announcement. "This is even more important when the state's budget remains precariously balanced."

Female lawmakers had hoped to make California the latest state to scrap the so-called "tampon tax," which they argue is an unfair burden on a necessary hygiene product that is not a luxury.

At least five other states and some countries have already enacted laws ending such taxes as part of an international movement to depict them as discriminatory. Brown also rejected legislation that would have eliminated sales taxes on diapers.


The bill's author, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, accused the governor of "mansplaining" in a Twitter post.

"It is time to end this out of date practice and support gender equity in the State of California's tax code," Garcia said in an email statement. "Today Governor Brown sent a clear message to all women in California. He told us periods are a luxury for women. ... Men purchase Viagra and they don't get taxed."