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According to the governor, California can’t afford new tax breaks while its budget remains “precariously balanced.”
Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill today that would have ended California’s tax on feminine hygiene products, along with six other bills that carried implications for the state’s tax revenue.
Had Assembly Bill 1561 been signed, it would have made California the fourth state to discontinue its “tampon tax.”
Speaking on his decision to veto the bills, Gov. Brown said “tax breaks are the same as new spending” and that he didn’t feel comfortable signing bills that would create or expand tax breaks that, in all, would have added up to about $300 million per year in lost revenue.
According to research, lifting the ‘tampon tax’—an action that had garnered unanimous support in the Assembly—would have resulted in a loss of $20 million for the state this year with a total cost of about $35 million annually, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Cristina Garcia, a Democratic Assemblymember who represents part of Los Angeles, has been the chief champion of the bill to nix the “tampon tax.”
In a statement released following Gov. Brown’s announcement, Garcia said, “Today Governor Brown sent a clear message to all women in California. He told us periods are a luxury for women. Let me be clear; biologically periods are not luxuries and they are definitely not something women should be ashamed of. We have a long way to go in our journey for equity in California.”
Gov. Brown, however has not ruled out hope for Californian women who aspire to someday buy tampons tax-free. Brown says if lawmakers want to add tax breaks—like the one afforded by AB1561—they must consider them during annual budget deliberations, particularly while California’s budget “remains precariously balanced.”
Quinn Libson writes for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.
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