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Michigan lawmakers hope to eliminate the "tampon tax"

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The so-called “tampon tax” has got to go. That’s the message of lawmakers in both chambers of the state Legislature.

Democrats and a couple Republicans are teaming up to get rid of Michigan’s use tax and sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

Michigan exempts food, medication and other necessities from taxes, and lawmakers argue feminine hygiene products are just as essential. 

Bill sponsor, Rep. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, says, “It’s not optional. It’s certainly not a luxury item and you need it for 40 years, so it’s really unlike most other items that are taxed.”

While the House bills are currently only sponsored by Democrats, the Senate package has the support of several Republicans, like Senator Rick Jones., R-Grand Ledge.

“Feminine hygiene products are absolutely a medical necessity,” he said. “In Michigan we don’t tax medicine, we don’t tax medical needs. Certainly this should be added to the list. It was a simple decision for me to co-sponsor the bills.”

Brinks said she hopes lawmakers from the other side of the aisle will sign on.

“We’re happy to keep that conversation going of course to make sure that we get folks on board,” she said.  “We’ve got a couple of Representatives who signed on to similar legislation last term who are Republicans. So we’ll be continuing that conversation.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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