Opinion: New Mexicans No Longer Have to Pay Taxes on Menstrual Products

Daniella Cressman

"New Mexicans no longer have to pay a tax on menstrual products thanks to a provision allowing retailers to deduct gross receipts taxes. But this bill should only mark the first step toward menstrual equity." —Jessica Serrano

It is a real pain to have to pay taxes on something I know I will need every single month, and it does feel unfair.

Thankfully, things have changed, at least in the state of New Mexico.

"During the 2022 NM Legislative session, Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, introduced a bill allowing retailers to deduct gross receipts taxes on menstrual products. This tax change was signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on March 8 under House Bill 163." —Jessica Serrano

New Mexico has followed 20 states that have ceased charging taxes on menstrual products. The reasoning behind this decision is that people shouldn't have to pay extra for the basic necessities of life that are a matter of survival: food, medicine, and menstrual products.

"The bill eliminating taxes on menstrual products follows about 20 other states that have ceased taxes on menstrual products. The logic is easy to follow; we don’t want to tax things that people need simply because they exist. This is a similar line of logic for eliminating taxes on food and medicine." —Jessica Serrano

Menstruation is a natural occurrence and these products are a necessity—not a luxury. On top of this, over 50% of the population in New Mexico consists of females who are between the ages of 18 and 64.

"Menstruation is a natural occurrence, and menstrual products should be treated like necessities instead of luxuries. Over 53% of the N.M. population is women aged 18-65. Over the course of a lifetime, the average person will have 451 menstrual cycles. An average cycle lasts 4-7 days. This means the average person must use menstrual products anywhere from 1,804 to 3,157 days of their lifetime. Yes, that’s right, on average menstruation takes up 5-8 years of your life."

I, for one, am relieved. I'm also immensely grateful to Representative Christine Trujillo for her action on this issue.

This may seem like a trivial matter to many, but it is an added expense for women, many of whom are on tight budgets already.

"In most places, menstrual products are not provided freely to those that need them. However, women overall make less than white non-Hispanic men. Native American women, on average, make about 60 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man, and Hispanic women make 57 cents. This pay gap is part of the reason why menstruating people sometimes forgo buying menstrual products to purchase other necessities, like food." —Jessica Serrano

Furthermore, people who cannot afford enough menstrual products and are forced to find alternatives are at risk of suffering from major health issues!

"...some people resort to using tampons for longer than recommended or using socks, toilet paper, and newspaper to absorb menses. Using products like this can lead to toxic shock syndrome, which can lead to major health problems years in the future. Menstrual products are a medical necessity because menstruation is a natural occurrence. Not having access to menstrual products can lead to serious medical complications." —Jessica Serrano

Basic menstrual products should be free. If someone wants to splurge on the best ones with organic cotton, than maybe than can cost $5-$10, but every woman should have access to the most rudimentary essential items that she will need every single month without having to dish out her hard-earned cash.

Additionally, menstrual products should be provided to those who are suffering the most and may not have access to them.

"These products should be provided to those who are low-income and/or incarcerated. They should be provided in schools and homeless shelters. They should be provided because they are a medical necessity and part of everyday life. A healthy reproductive system is not a luxury." —Jessica Serrano

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM

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