Bill to end New York tampon tax heads to governor

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(Reuters) - A bill to end sales taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins received final approval from New York lawmakers on Wednesday and is headed to the governor, who voiced strong support of the legislation.

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Several other states have already enacted such exemptions as a movement builds against a tax that critics say unjustly targets women.

The New York State Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed the bill, which exempts feminine hygiene products like sanitary napkins, tampons, and panty liners from the state's sales and compensating use tax. The State Assembly previously approved the measure.

"Repealing this regressive and unfair tax on women is a matter of social and economic justice," Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday. "I look forward to signing it into law."

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Bill to end New York tampon tax heads to governor

1. Hawaii: 0.28 effective real-estate tax rate ($489 in annual taxes)

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2. Alabama: 0.43 percent ($764)

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3. Louisiana: 0.48 percent ($841)

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4. Delaware: 0.53 percent ($929)

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5. District of Columbia: 0.57 percent ($1,005)

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6. South Carolina: 0.57 percent ($1,009)

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7. West Virginia: 0.59 percent ($1,035)

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8. Arkansas: 0.62 percent ($1,088)

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9. Colorado: 0.62 percent ($1,097)

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10. Wyoming: 0.62 percent ($1,094)

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The bill's supporters argued that menstrual products should be treated like other necessities, including healthcare items and medicines, which are already exempt from the taxes.

"There are many issues that simply transcend politics and a unanimous vote in both houses tells you that this is certainly one of them," the bill's sponsor, Republican state Senator Susan Serino said in a statement.

"Moving this legislation forward is a win for consumers and it's a win for women who have largely shouldered the burden of the tax for generations," she added.

Five other states - Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New Jersey - already exempt feminine hygiene products from sales taxes.

Ten states, including California, are considering legislation to do so as well.

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