State bill looks to eliminate tax from diapers & feminine hygiene products

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Several legislators in Wisconsin, from both sides, want to remove the ‘sales and use tax’ on diapers and feminine hygiene products.

A list of both democrats and republicans want to join other states that have already made the move, calling it a regressive tax.

This is all happening nearly a month after Governor Tony Evers announced feminine hygiene products will now be available for free in 24 state office buildings across Wisconsin. Legislators on both sides are taking it one step further, by introducing a bill making those products along with diapers and incontinence products, tax free.

“I think it's really unacceptable when I hear from folks across Wisconsin that are facing challenges on whether or not they're changing their babies' diapers on a regular basis, or whether or not they're having to choose between going to work or staying home and they're menstruating and they don't have access to menstrual products,” said Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison).

Action 2 News also spoke with the YWCA in Green Bay, which supports the initiative.

“We don't focus on the fact that a penny saved is a penny earned, and so when folks are down to the penny in their budgets, and they need a little bit of support, this offers a huge support to them,” said Renita Johnson, CEO of the YWCA Greater Green Bay.

Robinson said the YWCA serves thousands of families and hears from those with limited income how stressful it is to afford those necessary items, currently listed as luxury products.

“These are hard-working individuals that really can’t seem to make the ends meet and so when they get a break in something like this, it's a boom for their budget and it takes a little bit a little bit of the stress associated from just trying to exist in regular life, away” said Johnson.

As far as any loss in revenue if the tax is removed, legislators from both sides say it's an even greater loss if families don't have access to basic needs.

“The change in cost really makes a difference in terms of people being able to access and to afford perhaps is something also that I think helps with folks on the lower end of the income scale in terms of the cost of necessities,” said Senator Andre Jacque (R-De Pere).

The next step is to coordinate public hearings on the bill at the state capitol.