The Short Version: “The Tampon Tax”

The Short Version: “The Tampon Tax”

Last week, the subject was contraception. This week, well, it’s tampons. Is Cleo Abram on some sort of  feminist tear? Short answer: Nope. The subtext of her blog last week was really religious institutions and what exemptions they should or should not receive. This week, tampons are surrogates for what we can – or cannot –  live without. Do tampons fall under the category of  “necessities,” which in most, read 45, states are not taxed? Check out Cleo’s incisive summary and the opposing opinions of two whip-smart new contributors. “The Tampon Tax” is the feature of this week’s “The Short Version.”

Note: If you missed any of Cleo’s blogs, just go to our Home Page, type “The Short Version” into Search (magnifying glass icon) and poof, like magic, the blogs appear.

Cleo Constantine Abrams of the “Short Form,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.

Cleo Constantine Abram of the “The Short Version,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.

What’s happening?

This week’s most controversial issue is unexpected: tampons.

In the 45 states with sales tax (up to 10%), items that are considered “necessities” are not taxed. For example, New York state cites medicines, condoms, newspapers, and even wine as tax-exempt necessities—but not tampons. The distinction has become a point of tension nationwide.

For example, Chicago recently removed its tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. However, the city controls only its 1.25% tax, not the full state tax of 10.25%. Illinois and California are considering similar legislation which, if passed, would make them the 6th and 7th states to remove this tax. The others are: Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Why is it important?

First, taxing tampons amounts to a surprisingly significant amount of money. A woman spends on average $7 per month for 40 years of her life on feminine hygiene products. Combined state numbers are hard to come by, but in California taxing tampons adds over $20 million annually—though admittedly to a $100 billion state budget.

Second and more importantly, the issue highlights two overarching questions: what products do we tax, and how do we decide?

Debate it!

Should tampons be tax-exempt?

Continue reading here.

Why “The Short Version” on TIO:

Eight years ago, Telluride Inside…and Out began as a lifestyle webzine. Today, in the full knowledge that Telluride is a window on the world, we continue to bring the “zazz” (short for “pizzazz) of the region to a local, national, and global audience by covering everything from Telluride’s robust cultural economy – major events and festivals – to health and fitness and outdoor adventure. When Telluride travels, we write about places to go, people to meet too. (That’s part of the “Out” part of our handle, the other, obviously, Outdoors.)

And now, this new weekly column, “The Short Version,” which offers simple summaries of issues of national and global importance. (Though we won’t go political, or rather we won’t show bias in the upcoming election.)

“The Short Version” is written by Cleo Constantine Abram, the daughter of Telluride locals Eleni Constantine and Jonathan Abram (and therefore an honorary local and regular visitor) and a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm.

Why “The Short Version”? Because, though we live in Shangri-La, our bubble is not impermeable and the rest of the world is only a click away. Because there is no inconsequential action; only consequential inaction. And because information is power in a moment so many of us are feeling powerless.


More about Cleo Constantine Abram:

Cleo Abram 2

Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.

Cleo is a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm born of the Obama 2012 presidential campaign.

Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.

She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.

Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.

Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski!

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