By Sierra Kish
Ohio may soon repeal its “pink tax,” which covers feminine hygiene products.
According to the Ohio Legislature, the pink tax repeal bill would “exempt from sales and use tax the sale of tampons and other feminine hygiene products associated with menstruation.”
Amanda Fehlbaum, assistant professor of sociology at Youngstown State University, said the tax is a step in the right direction.
“It is excellent and a great move. It’s been a long time coming,” Fehlbaum said.
Cryshanna Jackson Leftwich, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at YSU and an associate professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations, said the bill will rectify some wrongs.
“It was sad that they taxed feminine hygiene products and not other hygiene products, so this is a good step,” Jackson Leftwich said.
Fehlbaum also said that the bill is important to not discriminate against both genders.
“Women aren’t the only one using these products. People with uteruses aren’t necessarily all women,” she said.
Sarah Jenyk, a senior lecturer of economics at YSU, said the bill is a good idea to help low-income consumers.
“The low-income consumers are hit with the bigger burden of the tax on these products. For women, these are necessities.” Jenyk said.
Jackson Leftwich agreed with Jenyk and said feminine hygiene products are expensive.
“For low-income women, no tax will be like a saving grace,” she said.
Jenyk said although the tax repeal will also change business and company budgets, revenue will not be a large issue.
“The revenue to the state will be the biggest impact. We will see a decrease in sales tax revenue, so that will have some negative implications to the state’s budget,” she said.
While Fehlbaum, Jackson Leftwich and Jenyk agree the bill is a breakthrough, there are some issues they believe Ohio could improve on.
Jenyk said Ohio needs to improve health issues pertaining to maternal and pregnancy care.
“Ohio could improve and focus on postpartum care and infant mortality rates because
Ohio has higher than normal rates on infant mortality rates,” Jenyk said.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, infant mortality is defined as “the death of a live-born baby before his or her first birthday. An infant mortality rate is the number of babies who died during the first year of life per 1,000 live births.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio has the fifth-highest infant mortality rate in the country with 982 deaths and a 7.2% rate in 2017.
Jackson Leftwich said Ohio could improve on putting women into government positions.
“We need a more diverse legislature. I would love to see more women in the House, the Senate and the government,” she said.
Jackson Leftwich also said Ohio is not pro-women, referring to the Ohio “heartbeat bill,” which generally prohibits “an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable heartbeat.”
“Anytime you pass reproductive bills that goes against reproductive health, that makes me feel like Ohio is anti-women,” Jackson Leftwich said.
Fehlbaum said Ohio is on its way to being pro-women.
“Ohio could be better in terms of policies that affect women or people that have uteruses, but the pink tax bill is a good step to Ohio being more about women,” Fehlbaum said.