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Diapers and feminine hygiene products no longer taxed in Colorado

DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- Earlier this year, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a law to end the state sales and use tax on feminine hygiene products and diapers.

The HB22-1055 bipartisan law now goes into effect Wednesday, August 10.

The bill received substantial bipartisan support in the legislature. It passed the Senate in a 26 to 9 vote and the house in a 50 to 13 vote.

Representative Susan Lontine says removing the tax on these products will help remove the stigma around these everyday items.

Senator Faith Winter says Coloradans deserve to live with dignity. But for some, they are unable to. Especially with rising inflation costs. She says the removal of this tax will help many pay for these basic human needs.

In 2017, Colorado lawmakers failed to pass similar legislation.

“From now on in Colorado, there will no longer be state sales tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products. This new bi-partisan law finally ends the sales tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products permanently and starts saving people money on these necessary products,” said Governor Polis.

According to the Governor's Office, this law is one of the 100 ways the Polis administration is saving Coloradans money.

Other products that are currently exempt from sales tax in Colorado are unprepared food, corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and some medications.

In Colorado Springs, one local woman is actively trying to help. She launched a nonprofit called 'The Pantry Collective' in 2021 with a mission to collect and distribute basic personal care products around the community such as personal hygiene products and diapers.

She says she has had many families, individuals and school districts in the area reach out to her for help. She has also had many people donate.

"I'm hoping to see more donations come in because then the people who can donate will not have to worry about tax," said 'The Pantry Collective' founder Angela Smith.

She says although this does not lower the cost of the basic items, removing the tax could be the barrier of a few dollars some individuals need.

According to a 2019 study committed by 'Thinx Nationally', one in four teenagers reported missing school because they did not have access to period products nationally. 

"They miss work, they miss school, so eliminating the tax will definitely help," said Smith. "It won't eliminate the need altogether, but it will make it more accessible."

According to the Alliance for Period Supplies, one in four women in Colorado struggle with access to feminine hygiene products.

"I haven't seen those stats change if not get worse during the pandemic," said Smith. "So it's definitely something needing to be addressed and super excited they finally pushed this bill through."

According to the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, families spend an average of $15 per month on period products per family member who needs them. 

For diapers, families spend approximately $75 per month per child. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three American families could not afford needed diapers, according to the baby gear nonprofit WeeCycle.

"Right now we're seeing one in three families nationally are in need of diapers," said Smith. "They struggle with income and access. With inflation it's only getting worse."

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, 2,791 children in Colorado receive diapers from diaper banks.

The state estimates the new tax exemption will save Colorado consumers approximately $9.1 million annually.

"It's going to be amazing to not think of these products as luxury items and make them more accessible to everyone who needs them," said Smith.

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