Three Michigan women have filed a lawsuit against the Michigan Treasury Department on Tuesday in order to stop taxation of feminine hygiene products like tampons, citing gender discrimination and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Emily Beggs, Claire Pfeiffer and Wei Ho filed the lawsuit on August 11 in the Court of Claims, according to MLive. The lawsuit says that collecting taxes on feminine hygiene products is discriminatory based on the 14th Amendment, which protects against “intentional inequalities.”
“For the government to impose a burden on a product that women must use, it’s a tax on women for being women,” Joanne Faycurry, who is representing the women pro-bono, told MLive.
The three women are also demanding a tax refund with interest, MLive reported. The lawsuit said that the state collected roughly $27.6 million in sales tax from menstrual products in the past four years.
The lawsuit follows legislation earlier this year to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. The bill — submitted by Rep. Brian Elder (D-96-Bay City), and Rep. Tenisha Yancey (D-1-Harper Woods) — was referred to the House Committee on Tax Policy.
“Women already face economic disparities in their paycheck every payday; there is no reason we should also be forced to pay this additional tax for taking care of our reproductive health,” Yancey in a statement announcing the legislation. “It is time for Michigan to remove this unnecessary financial burden once and for all.”
Michigan Attorney General Dan Nessel voiced her support for the lawsuit.
Glad this came now, and not when I was on my beach vacation.
Since there are already bills that address this pending in the legislature, I hope someone can pull some strings.https://t.co/CbgBTaz4T9
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) August 12, 2020
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer voiced support for the idea during her gubernatorial campaign and a spokesperson for her office recently reaffirmed that support to MLive.
MI Dems introduce bill to end sales & use taxes on feminine hygiene products. Stop taxing women for being women. https://t.co/8W5UIrqfVV
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) February 8, 2017
Ten states already exempt tampons and sanitary napkins from sales tax, according to Yancey, including New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland, Florida and Nevada.
Judge Colleen O’Brien is reviewing the case, according to MLive.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter at The Michigan Star and Star News Digital Media. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Background Photo”Beauty Section” by Beantowndude316. CC BY 2.0.