Lawmakers in Georgia are looking out for low-income women and girls as the state has earmarked $1.5 million in the 2020 budget to provide free menstrual pads and tampons for those who can’t afford them.
The funds will reportedly be allocated to the Georgia Department of Education directly to ease the burden of young girls who repeatedly miss school because their family lacks the funds to purchase menstrual pads or tampons, ajc.com reports.
House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones spearheaded the effort after Georgia Democratic lawmakers sought for the past two years to lift the state’s 4 percent tax on menstrual products but to no avail.
“I’m elated that recognition is going to be given to the kids that need it most,” said State Rep. Kim Schofield, D-Atlanta. “This is a gap that the state has graciously decided to fill.”
The state’s county health departments will receive an additional $500,000 to provide menstrual products to low-income women.
Lawmakers are hopeful that the $1.5 million spending plan for menstrual products will be recurring.
In my lifetime I want them to be free for all women, everywhere, regardless of country or income. At the moment it’s a tax on being a woman. Ridiculous.
— Sh1r (@__ShirMcC__) April 9, 2019
One Twitter user reacted to the spending plan by “In my lifetime I want them to be free for all women, everywhere, regardless of country or income. At the moment it’s a tax on being a woman. Ridiculous.”
Another asked, “How will “low income” be determined?”
One commenter noted that “Sadly, many men have no idea of the costs of menstrual products. A lot of men start to equate costs of period products only when they see the price of disposable baby diapers.”
In November, Nevada became the 10th state to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales taxes, according to US News and World Report.
“The sales tax on these items does not amount to much,” said Ohio state Rep. Brigid Kelly, a Democrat. “But when you’re trying to figure out if you can give your kid milk money or if you have enough to get your own lunch then it is impactful in a very significant way.”