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Ballot title submitted to exempt feminine hygiene products from Arkansas sales tax

LA Johnson

An advocacy group on Monday submitted language for a 2024 ballot initiative to abolish Arkansas’ “tampon tax.”

The initiated act would exempt feminine hygiene products from Arkansas sales tax, including “tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins, and other similar tangible personal property designed for feminine hygiene in connection with the human menstrual cycle.”

A popular name and ballot title for the measure was sent Monday to Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, who is responsible for approving initiative and referendum petitions under the new Act 194. The law also requires the attorney general to render a decision within 10 business days.

Texas is the most recent state to exempt period products from sales tax, and Arkansas remains one of 21 states that continue to tax them, despite exempting other health-related products.

“Currently, 29 states have removed the tax on period products, including Texas, Louisiana, and Florida,. While 21 states in the U.S. , including Arkansas, still have a sales tax on period products considering them luxury items, while exempting many other items from sales tax, including Viagra, vending machine sales, and newspapers,” said Katie Clark, founder of the Arkansas Period Poverty Project.

According to the group, the proceeds from the tax on period products comprises less than .01% of Arkansas’ total state revenue.

“The average menstruator will spend an average of $11,000 in their lifetime on period products, and one in four menstruators in Arkansas struggle to afford period products,” the group said in a news release.

The language of the proposal mirrors a bill proposed by a pair of Republican state lawmakers in 2021 that died in committee.

To qualify for the ballot, the Period Poverty Project must collect at least 71,321 signatures from registered voters. The measure would appear on the November 2024 ballot, and it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2025.

The Arkansas Period Poverty Project was founded in 2018, and its mission is focused on promoting “menstrual equity” through donations, education and legislation. The group regularly donates period products to schools across the state.

Deputy Editor of Arkansas Advocate, which is part of States Newsroom, a national nonprofit news organization, supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. The Advocate retains full editorial independence.