By Thomas Mitchell
Question 2 on the November ballot — the so-called pink tax repeal —
would eliminate the state and local sales taxes on feminine hygiene
products such as tampons and sanitary napkins.
Nevada does not apply sales taxes to such necessities as food and medicine, so this sounds reasonable on its face.
But according to the Nevada Secretary of State, the state demographer notes there are approximately 867,000 females between the ages of 12 and 55 living in Nevada. Assuming the average monthly consumption of these feminine hygiene products is between $7 and $10 per person, this would generate total taxable sales of as much as $100 million each fiscal year, meaning the taxable revenue for the state and local government could be cut by as much as $7 million a year — money that doubtlessly would need to be raised some other way.
In addition, 13 of Nevada’s 17 counties (Carson City, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Nye, Pershing, Storey, Washoe and White Pine) impose additional sales taxes and thus the repeal could cut another $1.3 million in revenue to those counties Carson City, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Nye, Pershing, Storey, Washoe and White Pineunties.
The argument against passage of this tax exemption states: “Exempting feminine hygiene products from Nevada’s sales and use taxes will result in less revenue for the State and local governments, including school districts. This loss of revenue may adversely affect the provision of state and local governmental services. … Nevada’s sales and use taxes are not discriminatory and do not tax products based on sex. Rather, products sold in Nevada are generally subject to these taxes regardless of who buys or uses them. As a result, many products that are considered necessities, such as soap, toothbrushes and toilet paper, are not exempt from sales and use taxes.”
There is no evidence the current sales tax has in any way inhibited the ability of women to obtain these products. We need not shift the tax burden with another special carve out.
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Thomas Mitchell is a former newspaper editor who now writes conservative/libertarian columns for weekly papers in Nevada. You may email Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.