Missouri levies a 4.225% sales tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products. This high sales tax rate, sometimes called a luxury tax rate, is far greater than the sales tax rate for groceries, which is 1.225%, or for many other healthcare products, which are tax exempt. Diapers and feminine hygiene products are necessary items for Missouri families, women, and girls and should not be taxed as luxuries.
During the current legislative session, numerous bills have been filed, including SB 73, SB 162, and HB 351, that would reduce or repeal the sales tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products. SB 73 was filed by Senator Curtis Trent (R-Springfield) and SB 162 was filed by Senator Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R-Arnold); both bills had hearings on February 13, 2023, in the Economic Development and Tax Policy committee and were successfully voted out of committee on February 20, 2023. HB 351 was filed by Representative Phil Christofanelli (R-St. Peters) and unfortunately is still waiting to be referred to a committee.
Eliminating the luxury tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products significantly benefits young families, women, and girls across Missouri. About one in three U.S. parents with children between 0-3 have trouble affording enough diapers for their children. Adequate diaper changes help prevent children from developing urinary tract infections and skin infections. This tax cut will help Missouri parents meet their children’s health needs without having to choose between buying diapers and buying food for their families. This same tax cut will help the Missouri girls and women who have reported missing school or using paper towels, old clothes, and other unhygienic items in place of pads and tampons because they can’t afford to purchase enough feminine hygiene products every month.
As students at SLU Law, we value the mission of empowering underserved communities. SLU’s Jesuit mission has been dedicated to reducing poverty and injustice, showing compassion to those less fortunate, and improving the quality of life for all people for over 200 years. Supporting a sales tax exemption for diapers and feminine hygiene products continues this legacy.
If you want to help make diapers and feminine hygiene products more affordable for Missouri families, women, and girls, please consider contacting your State Representative and your State Senator in support of SB 73, SB 162, and HB 351. Just like food and other healthcare products, diapers and feminine hygiene products are necessities.
Katie Kramer is a third year law student at Saint Louis University School of Law. Alleigh Fine is a second year law student at Saint Louis University School of Law.