Today, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed two bills that would have eliminated taxes on both tampons and diapers. The bills had broad support in the state legislature—they passed with unanimous votes—and many argued that the elimination of sales tax would foster equality for women within the tax code.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Brown compared eliminating the taxes to “new spending,” in his decision to veto the bills. “Each of these bills creates a new tax break or expands an existing tax break,” Brown said. He added that, if passed, the bills would reduce the state’s revenue by $35 million. The tampon tax alone generates $20 million in revenue for the state each year.
That reasoning wasn’t good enough for the sponsors of the two bills. In a tweet, Cristina Garcia, Assemblywoman and author of the tampon bill, criticized Brown for his decision. “Jerry Brown has chosen to balance the budget on the backs of hardworking California women. Unacceptable,” she wrote.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the author of the diaper tax bill, told the Times: “We will continue working to achieve sales tax reform and bridge the diaper gap that forces too many of California’s working families to struggle.”
Thirteen states, including New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, have eliminated the tampon tax. Advocates argue that the tampon tax creates a double standard and additional tax burden on women. They also argue that such taxes fail to treat menstruation products as a medical necessity. These are all good and true arguments.