Western Michigan University’s Western Student Association passed a resolution during their April 7 meeting in support of removing the tax on feminine hygiene products with unanimous consent.
The resolution was written by WSA’s counterparts at Michigan State University, with a goal to have similar resolutions passed across all student governments in Michigan.
“Access to menstrual products is something that WSA has worked on in the past,” said Vice President for Political Affairs Emma Barratta. “We have an RSO on campus, (Broncos) Period at WMU has previously worked with us to get access to menstrual products for free across campus, so this was our opportunity to voice support as students.”
This resolution, known as the ‘pink tax,’ encompasses menstrual products as well as other hygiene products geared towards women that are taxed as non-essential items. Many states have already removed this tax, but Michigan currently taxes these products at a rate of six percent.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently unveiled her fiscal year 2022 budget plan in which she pushes for the removal of the pink tax. There have been 15 previous pieces of legislation introduced to the Michigan State house and Senate since 2016, none of which have passed, per the WSA resolution.
In Michigan, women typically pay about $6.9 million a year on menstrual hygiene product taxes, according to the resolution passed by WSA.
Several organizations on WMU's campus have spoken up about the topic, including WMU College Democrats.
“I think this is long overdue,” said Mary Harman, president of WMU College Democrats. “Having the tampon tax conforms to the patriarchal idea that we have, it’s not a person with a uterus’s choice to have their period. This is a very good first step into having more gender equity.”
Kayala Blauet, vice president of WMU College Democrats, added the removal of the ‘pink tax’ would create economic equity.
“We (WMU Democrats) talk about equity, especially economic equality a lot, as an RSO it’s really important to have the difficult conversation and be able to openly talk about the financial burden that sales tax put on menstruation products,” Blauet said.