Texas officials, Governor Greg Abbott say they support eliminating sales tax on tampons

·2 min read
The Texas Tribune

Two top Texas finance officials say they want to state and local sales tax on tampons and other menstrual products — a measure that has the support of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and state Sen. Joan Huffman, a Houston Republican who chairs the senate Finance Committee, on Thursday said they support repealing the tax, which would require new legislation when lawmakers convene starting in January 2023.

“Every woman knows that these products are not optional,” Huffman said. “They are essential to our health and well-being and should be tax exempt.”

Huffman said she’d make the issue a priority as head of the Senate Finance Committee. Hegar called taxing products like tampons “archaic” and said Texas should to join the growing number of states that already exempt tampons and other feminine hygiene products from sales tax.

Legislation would have to pass in the House and Senate before heading Abbott for approval.

Eliminating the tax has the support of Abbott, spokesperson Renae Eze said in a statement.

“Governor Abbott fully supports exempting feminine hygiene products from state and local sales tax,” Eze said. “These are essential products for women’s health and quality of life, and the Governor looks forward to working with the legislature in the next session to remove this tax burden on Texas women.”

Spokespeople Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan did not immediately return requests for comment.

The comptroller’s office estimates taxes from the products would generate roughly $28.6 million annually during the next biennium. The office expects the current biennium to end with $27 billion in revenue.

“Texas can absorb this lost revenue easily, but for countless Texas women, this will mean significant savings in their personal budgets over time,” Hegar said. “This is a small amount of money relative to the overall revenue outlook for Texas.”

There have been past efforts to eliminate taxes on menstrual products. Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat, has filed a bill to exempt the supplies from taxes every session since 2017 but the legislation did not pass out of committee.

“I already have legislation ready to go and intend to file this bill when filing begins in November,” Howard, who chairs the House’s Texas Women’s Health Caucus, said in a Thursday statement. “I look forward to working with Chairwoman Huffman to get this bill to the Governor’s desk next session.”

The announcement from Huffman and Hegar comes after the comptroller’s office in February denied to reimburse Sahar Punjwani of the Texas Menstrual Equity Coalition, working with a Houston law firm, for sales tax paid on menstrual products, The Texas Tribune reported. The group advocates to end the “tampon tax.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.