To understand how stupid we are getting (especially in California), consider this state legislator’s tweet:
— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) January 4, 2016
Let’s deal with the tax-free part first.
Despite the odious rhetoric of “justice” and “equality” and the gender politics, there is no way I’m going to oppose a sales tax reduction or exemption. Newser.com provides some context:
Health products like walkers and Viagra are exempt from California state sales tax, and if two assembly members have their way, feminine hygiene products will soon enjoy the same status. Cristina Garcia and Ling Ling Chang introduced a measure Monday maintaining that tampons, sanitary napkins, and similar products are a necessity that shouldn’t bear the extra cost of taxes, and that eliminating these fees could even close the wage men and women, Newsweek reports. “Women have no choice but to buy these products,” says Garcia, vice chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. “You can’t just ignore your period.” The state would lose about $20 million in tax revenue if the bill passes, Garcia adds to the Sacramento Bee.
Five states— Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania— have already dumped the tax on feminine products, Newsweek reports. Per Fusion, most states don’t tax “non-luxury items,” or “necessities,” but feminine hygiene products usually aren’t included in that domain.
Nevertheless, sales tax is a horribly regressive tax unless “necessities” are exempted. I realize the definition of “necessity” is hazy, but the bottom line is that the poor spend more of their money on retail items than the rich. So the poor end up losing more of their money to the state through sales tax.
And California has forced the gender issue by making Viagra tax-exempt.
The best option would be to simply abolish all sales tax. Then everyone would be equal: men and women, rich and poor, etc.
But what about this idea that tampons should be free. I assume that Garcia means that the state should use public funds to buy these items and then give them to women. But which quality? In my (quite limited) experience, women have definite preferences. How is Garcia going to meet the variety of demands? The market does that now and keeps the drugstores well stocked. How can the government provide the same ability?
Maybe she wants women to get coupons so that they don’t have to spend their own money on feminine hygiene. This will inevitably cause prices to go up just like student loans cause tuition rates to go higher.
Let the market function for all humans without the obstruction of sales tax. That is the best option.