By Alana Seldon SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – While sales tax is applied to all consumer purchases, new legislation makes an impact on Central New Yorkers, exempting necessities from local and State sales tax.
Last summer, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that eliminates sales tax on feminine care and hygiene products. New York joined a short list of states, including Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania who do not tax these products under a states’s sales tax.
Gender-based pricing continues to a be a controversial debate in the U.S. According to MSNBC, the issue is also known as “pink tax” because of the color of products directly marketed to girls and women. It refers to the price difference for female-specific products compared with the gender-neutral goods or those marketed to men.
Studies show that gender-specific items such as sanitary products, razors, toys and accessories, health and beauty items and even clothing, are sold at a higher rate or sales tax than that of men’s products.
Governor Cuomo’s efforts to eliminate sales tax on such items have been a big deal over the last year as women save millions on pads, tampons and other hygiene necessities.
Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, Crystal Savage is a mother or three small children and moved to Syracuse nearly 3 years ago for better access to autism services for her two oldest sons.
As she endures everyday life with her boys, she says having a few extra dollars at the end of the month for personal needs was huge for her.
“I think number one, it’s a huge statement about the things we prioritize here,” she explained. “But also its very helpful for women in communities that are already struggling, especially women from low-income households”
After learning of Cuomo’s support of women, eliminating sales tax of necessities, Savage says she believes that’s how the tax system should work.
“It makes me feel more comfortable knowing that I’m not paying a premium for something just because I’m a woman in the state of New York, that’s a big deal for me. That gives me a lot of confidence in the work that they are doing in making sure everyone has access to the things they need.”
With her youngest sprawled across her lap, Savage affectionately named him a feminist, as well. She says, the tax system “shouldn’t disadvantage people for no reason, other than gender.”
While New York has already joined the movement in providing women with easier access to these items, a number of states have also considered bills to exempt tampons and other feminine hygiene products from their sales tax bases.
The state of New York estimated that consumers purchasing feminine hygiene products save nearly 10-million dollars a year.