As the 2022 legislative session begins, New Mexico lawmakers are being asked to “think pink” by Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque.
Trujillo again proposed a bill that would abolish the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, more colloquially known as the “pink tax” or the “tampon tax.” Though the measure failed in 2019, Trujillo is hoping New Mexico’s current revenue boom could build momentum behind an effort to eliminate sales taxes on menstruation products in the state.
In a recent interview, Trujillo said House Bill 32 is extremely important to people who menstruate in New Mexico, especially because of the state’s relatively high poverty rate. On Jan. 25, the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee recommended the bill and passed it on to the Taxation and Revenue Committee.
Eliminating the tax on feminine hygiene products would “allow more access to underprivileged women that have less access to get their products without having to pay so much for them,” Trujillo said.
The 2019 bill was tabled because the state budget could not support the loss of revenue from the sales tax on period products, which brings an estimated $800,000 to the state, according to a 2019 Legislative Finance Committee report.
The 2022 bill introduced by Trujillo and co-sponsored by Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos, and Rep. Tara Lujan, D-Santa Fe, was inspired by bills passed in 20 other U.S. states that have followed through with eliminating sales taxes on menstruation products.
Trujillo, along with many lawmakers from other states that managed to pass these bills, subscribes to the belief that “because [feminine hygiene products] are not a luxury, women should have easy access to them.”
Trujillo said she believed the bill did not pass in 2019 because New Mexico had “a different fiscal environment” at the time. However, there is a projected increase in state revenue, placing New Mexico in a positive new economic situation.
The absorption of the tampon tax would be “a drop in the bucket for the state of New Mexico” this year, she said.
For supporters of free period products, House Bill 32 is an elephantine first step to eliminating the cost of them altogether. Trujillo said she is hopeful the bill will pass this time around because she has observed that “people are more enlightened now and more inclined to support it.”