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Arkansas groups seek to get rid of 'Tampon Tax' across the state

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin has 10 days to decide on the ballot initiative. If approved, the group will have to collect over 71 thousand signatures.

ARKANSAS, USA — An Arkansas advocacy group has submitted a ballot initiative to get rid of the Arkansas "tampon tax,” a sales tax for feminine hygiene products that was adopted by 21 states.

The Founder of Arkansas Period Poverty (APP) Katie Clark says that she hopes the ballot initiative will raise awareness for "those who are choosing between period products and putting food on their plate ... We can't lower the price of tampons and pads, but we can at least make it more affordable by removing that tax."

The state of Texas recently passed legislation to exempt tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, and similar items from tax, and APP says their group is looking to do the same here in Arkansas.

According to APP, the proceeds from the tax on period products account for less than 0.1% of Arkansas' total state revenue, but the cost on individual women across the state is impactful.

The group focuses on menstrual equity through donations, educating the public, and legislation. Clark says, "The research we got out of the 2021 session was that Arkansans spend about $3 million a year on the tampon tax alone."

For many families, period products can be considered necessary back-to-school supplies— Project Coordinator with the Life Cycle Project Karen McClard says "At the Yvonne Richardson back-to-school event held at the end of August, we distributed over 7,000 pads and tampons ... Arkansas is particularly impacted by period poverty because so many people in Arkansas live below the federal line."

Community organizations like Lighthouse Solutions and Fayetteville Menstrual Dignity (FMD) say the tampon tax impacts women across the state. 

Lighthouse Solutions host a wellness initiative called the L.I.F.E. Cycle Project, promoting feminine wellness and providing menstrual hygiene education, resources for healthcare access, and distribution of period products.

Amber Jackson, an organizer for FMD says "The idea of having a tax on something that is a basic hygienic need just needs to go ... I believe the products should be available and free to everyone who menstruates."

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin has 10 days to make a decision on the ballot initiative. If approved, the group will have to collect over 71 thousand signatures from registered voters before it could appear on the November 2024 ballot.

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