California Gov. Jerry Brown is under fire from female lawmakers after he rejected legislation Tuesday that would waive sales tax on tampons and diapers, along with a host of other tax breaks that would have cost up to $300 million a year.
Lawmakers had sought to make California the latest state to scrap the “tampon tax" on the basis that such products aren't luxury items, but necessities.
At least five other states and some countries have already enacted laws ending such taxes as part of an international movement to depict them as discriminatory.
"As I said last year, tax breaks are the same as new spending — they both cost the General Fund money. As such, they must be considered during budget deliberations so that all spending proposals are weighed against each other at the same time," Brown said in a news release accompanying his announcement.
The Los Angeles Daily News reported that the tampon tax bill got further in the process than one forbidding a higher price on goods that are the same, but marketed to women, such as razors and deodorant.
Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia blasted Brown for the decision on Twitter and accused him of “mansplaining.”
Today's lesson: my uterus should carry the burden of fiscal responsibility for the state. Thank goodness GovBrown is around to #mansplain it— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) September 14, 2016
“Today's lesson: my uterus should carry the burden of fiscal responsibility for the state,” she tweeted after the veto.
Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez, who along with Garcia wrote the tampon and diaper laws, has proposed that the whole tax system needs a broad overhaul, and that tax breaks on diapers and tampons should be paid for by taxes on items such as candy, soda and chips, The Los Angeles Times reported.
However, voters would need to sign off on the proposal due to a ballot measure in 1992 that scrapped a “snack tax” that charged tax on candy and other snacks.
The Times reported on a number of exemptions that also could be closed to raise money. For instance, Christmas trees are taxed, but pear trees aren’t, newspapers are taxed, but magazines are not.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.