Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife called for an end to sales taxes on tampons and diapers on Tuesday -- because they are medically necessary -- as part of a proposal called a “parents’ agenda.”
"The governor and I are proud parents of four young children and these issues do hit close to home," Siebel Newsom said, while her husband and several female lawmakers stood behind her next to boxes of tampons and diapers. "In California, we are fighting for a future where our daughters will be valued equally to our sons.”
Past efforts to eliminate taxes on tampons and diapers in California have ended in failure. Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia tried passing an exemption for taxes on diapers for five years, the Sacramento Bee reported. Former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation in 2016.
“I cannot tell you the frustration we've been through in trying to explain this to people who have never bought diapers," Gonzalez said.
Newsom admitted it was uncomfortable for him to talk about women’s menstrual products.
"It's remarkable how tone-deaf some men are on this topic and our politics is on this topic," he said.
The proposals are part of Newsom’s revised $200 billion budget that he is expected to introduce Thursday. He plans to add $134 million to expand child care programs, with $80 million of that coming from legal marijuana sales taxes, according to the paper. He is also proposing a $1,000 tax credit for families with children under 6 and expanding paid family leave from six to eight weeks.
Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, the chamber's Republican leader, praised Newsom’s proposal for cutting taxes on "basic necessities" and increasing the child care tax credit. She said more needed to be done to address the state's notoriously high cost of living.
Lawmakers have until June 30 to pass a budget.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.