I'm sorry to report this, but California is no longer woke. Governor Jerry Brown announced today that his state will not be ending its tax on tampons after all, despite the fact that a bill to do so received unanimous support from the state's assembly.
In a statement Tuesday, the governor's office wrote:
In order to maintain California’s fiscal stability and keep the state’s budget balanced, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that he has vetoed a package of bills that would have created new tax breaks or expanded existing tax breaks worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Unfortunately, the package includes the celebrated bill 1561, introduced by Assembly Member Cristina Garcia, which would have created a tax exemption for feminine hygiene products and saved women in California $20 million annually.
In an additional message about the veto, Brown elaborated:
Tax breaks are the same as new spending—they both cost the General Fund money.
But what cost must women pay? Like most states, California does not tax what it considers "necessary" items, such as food and prescription medicines—only so-called "luxury items." But to classify feminine hygiene products as a "luxury" is downright sexist, which is why women have been fighting so hard this year to axe the tax, in California and states across the country.
After New York and Connecticut successfully passed legislation to end the tampon tax, it felt like we were finally making headway—until Governor Brown went and vetoed thousands of women's dreams.
"After so much momentum in the national movement to eliminate the tampon tax, Governor Brown’s announcement is a major disappointment," says Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, an activist who has spearheaded the campaign to end the tampon tax nationwide. "California has now placed itself far out of step with those states that have removed this unfair, antiquated and discriminatory tax, with the support of Democrat and Republican leaders alike. Perhaps the Governor should answer to the public why his state exempts Pop-Tarts from sales tax, but not necessary menstrual products."
Perhaps he should. As it turns out, there are plenty of items California could tax but doesn't, including candy, chewing gum, original artwork, hot prepared food products sold to airlines, leases of motion pictures, commemorative “California Gold’’ medallions, sawdust, dry ice, newspapers, and property used in space flight!
Earlier this month, New York's bill to end the tampon tax officially went into effect. Which is great and all, but it also means that, for the time being, whenever someone asks Which is better—New York or California?, we are all required to say New York. 😭
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.