(The Center Square) – An Arkansas group supporting a ballot initiative that would remove sales taxes from feminine hygiene products said they would resubmit their petition after Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office rejected it.
The Arkansas Period Poverty Project submitted the ballot question earlier this month.
Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia exempt feminine hygiene products from their sales tax, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies. The latest state to do so is Texas. The Legislature passed a law earlier this year that went into effect on Sept. 1.
Griffin’s office said there were ambiguities in the text of the ballot question that may not be in line with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement that allows sales tax exemptions if the product descriptions align with the agreement.
“The term ‘feminine hygiene products’ is defined in the Streamlined Agreement as ‘tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins, and other similar tangible personal property designed for feminine hygiene in connection with the human menstrual cycle, but does not include ‘grooming and hygiene products’ as defined in this Agreement,” the attorney general’s office said in the opinion. “This difference between your proposed definition and the product definition under the Streamlined Agreement raises the question whether your proposed measure means to include “grooming and hygiene products”—thereby removing Arkansas from compliance with the compact, or whether you mean for Arkansas to remain compliant with the Streamlined Agreement, in which case your definition should mirror the product definition found in the Streamlined Agreement.”
It’s an easy fix, the Arkansas Period Poverty Project said in an email to The Center Square.
“We are planning to edit our ballot measure proposal to clarify that the specific products that we are asking to be exempt and the products that we are not asking to be exempt from sales and use tax,” the group said. “We believe the Attorney General is essentially asking us to include a statement that says ‘not including other hygiene or grooming items.'”
The attorney general’s office is required by law to review proposed ballot measures.