Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday rejected an attempt to waive taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products along with other proposed tax breaks, saying lawmakers should propose such ideas as part of the annual state budget process rather than as one-off exceptions.
In all, the seven tax breaks the Democratic governor announced Tuesday that he had vetoed would have added up to $300 million a year, he said.
"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. "This is even more important when the state's budget remains precariously balanced."
Women lawmakers had hoped to make California the latest state to scrap the so-called "tampon tax," which they argue is an unfair burden on a necessary hygiene product that is not a luxury. 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. Brown also rejected legislation that would have eliminated sales taxes on diapers.
The bill's author, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, accused the governor of "mansplaining" in a Twitter post.
"It is time to end this out of date practice and support gender equity in the State of California's tax code," Garcia said in an email statement. "Today Governor Brown sent a clear message to all women in California. He told us periods are a luxury for women. ... Men purchase Viagra and they don't get taxed."
Other tax breaks that Brown announced vetoing include:
- SB907, which would have extended personal income tax relief for forgiven debt from mortgage relief provided to homeowners for homes that were underwater during the mortgage crisis;
- AB2127, which would have lowered the amount of ethanol required in a gasoline blend in order for it to qualify for a discounted gas tax;
- AB2728, which would have extended an expiring tax break for investments by insurance companies in lower-income communities;
- SB898, which would have exempted animal blood used by veterinarians from sales taxes. Human blood is already exempt;
- AB724, which would have given the Jimmy Doolittle Museum in Vacaville, California, an exemption from paying sales taxes on items purchased for exhibits, allowing the museum to buy a restored Shell Lockheed Vega flown by the famed World War II commander, similar to a tax break for the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the California Science Center.