Texas sales tax: Bill to eliminate diapers, feminine hygiene products, and maternity apparel sales taxes passed by House
Texan households will be exempt from sales tax on menstrual products and some baby items under a bill that passed the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 145-2 on Wednesday.
The video above is about Texas laws signed in 2021 that officially became effective beginning in 2023.
House Speaker Dade Phelan, R. Beaumont, has set House Bill 300 as the top priority for the first legislative session after overturning Roe v. Wade. The bill will go to the Senate side.
The proposal, submitted by Rep. Donna Howard, D. Austin, eliminates sales tax on diapers, baby wipes, and bottles; menstrual supplies, including tampons, pads, and menstrual cups; Maternity clothes and breast milk pumping products. After a third reading amendment from Rep. Brian Slaton, R-Royce City, adult diapers will also be tax deductible.
If passed, the measure would cost the state an estimated $194 million in lost sales tax over two years, according to the Legislative Budget Council.
At a House hearing in early March, dozens of people spoke or gave written testimony in favor of the bill. Emily Adams, vice president of Austin Diaper Bank, testified with her infant daughter, Opal, in her arms. This bill will help the Texas economy, she said, noting that some families are unable to send their children to daycare because they cannot afford the required diapers.
“Not only do children miss out on important early learning experiences and academic and social development, but parents and caregivers are forced out of the workforce, leading to lost wages,” Adams said. “Without employment prospects, small businesses face a hiring desert.”
Diapers can cost $100 or more per month per child, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The only financial assistance, other than nonprofit diaper banks, comes from the Temporary Assistance for Families in Need program—and the TANF program in Texas gives low-income families less direct cash assistance than almost any state.
The maternity care provisions are a more recent addition to this legislation, which Howard has introduced every session since 2017. Previous versions of the bill focused more on addressing “period poverty” by removing the sales tax on tampons.
In Texas, teenage girls have led the movement to make Texas the 24th state to remove sales tax on menstrual products. The group argued in legal filings and legislative hearings that menstrual supplies should count as wound care dressings, exempt from sales tax, and that by excluding them, Texas discriminates on the basis of sex.
The movement has gained momentum in the months since Roe v. Wade fell, as Texas banned abortion and Republican lawmakers sought to show support for mothers and children. In addition to Phelan’s seal of approval, Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Governor Greg Abbott both expressed support for repealing the tax.
“Governor Abbott fully supports exempting feminine hygiene products from state and local sales tax,” Renee Eze, a spokeswoman for the governor, told the Texas Tribune in August. “These are essential products for women’s health and quality of life, and the governor looks forward to working with the legislature in the next session to remove this tax burden for Texas women.”
The bill is expected to move to the side of the Senate Finance Committee. Republican-Houston Sen. Joanne Hoffman, who chairs the committee, and Lt. Dan Patrick also expressed support for such “sensible tax breaks,” as Patrick called them.
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