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'Tampon Tax' Could Be Waived in Chicago: Rahm Calls It 'Right Thing To Do'

By Ted Cox | February 10, 2016 12:01pm | Updated on February 10, 2016 2:43pm
 Ald. Ed Burke (14th) called taxing tampons and pads
Ald. Ed Burke (14th) called taxing tampons and pads "unfair" and "discriminatory."
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CITY HALL — The city could soon waive taxes on tampons and pads to adjust for the "unfair" "tampon tax" on feminine-hygiene products, according to a ordinance proposed in City Council Wednesday.

Calling a tax on the products "discriminatory" and "unfair," Aldermen Edward Burke (14th) and Leslie Hairston (5th) submitted a proposed ordinance to rescind the tax at Wednesday's City Council meeting.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel immediately signed on, saying he would "have staff study it," but adding, "I think it's the right thing to do, an appropriate thing for us to look at."

Tampons and pads are currently taxed at the rate of any common product in Chicago: 10.25 percent, including a 6.25 state tax, 1.75 percent county tax and 1.25 percent city tax, as well as a 1 percent Regional Transportation Authority tax.

The proposed ordinance would remove them from taxation in Chicago by categorizing them as "medical devices."

"This tax only affects women. Is that fair?" Burke said. "These are not luxury items, and Chicago needs to lead the way in eliminating this unfair tax."

Calling the tax "an unnecessary and discriminatory tax against women," Hairston added, "Removing the tax in Chicago and lowering it in Illinois would help to make these products more affordable to women, especially poor women."

The two aldermen are also submitting complementary resolutions asking the General Assembly to lower the state tax on the items to 1 percent, the same rate for food, drugs and medical appliances.

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