In the Republican-dominated state of Tennessee, proceeds from gun shows, fees for private gyms, and admission to county fairs are free of sales taxes. But for some reason, essential women’s hygiene products such as tampons are not.
And even trying to introduce the idea has its GOP officials up in arms.
On Tuesday, state lawmakers were discussing a proposal by Senator Sara Kyle (D) to include feminine hygiene products during Tennessee’s annual sales-tax holiday.
She told Vox that last year the state legislature gave tax breaks to sports agents, architects, and accountants too. But women rarely get such priority.
According to the Associated Press, Republican lawmakers pushed back saying it would encourage too many women to buy too many tampons during the sales tax holiday.
“I would think since it’s a sales tax holiday, there’s really no limit on the number of items anybody can purchase,” said Sen. Joey Hensley, a Republican from Hohenwald. “I don’t know how you would limit the number of items someone could purchase.”
It’s not clear why women should be limited from buying tampons.
Democratic Sen. Brenda Gilmore of Goodlettsville told AP:
“It’s a very uncomfortable conversation to have, there are some young girls who use rags and cloths because they can’t afford these products and we should not allow our young girls to be submitted to this humiliation.”
So far, just 10 U.S. states have removed the so-called tampon tax.
Kenya did so over a decade ago, according to the AP, and other countries including Canada, India and the United Kingdom have done so more recently.
But not so, Tennessee—apparently out of fear women will stockpile them.