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Baton Rouge Metro Council to discuss 'Hygiene Tax' during Wednesday meeting
BATON ROUGE - According to a January 2020 report from the World Bank, nearly a third of the world's population lives in poverty, struggling to make ends meet.
Among the millions living in poverty are some who face monetary health-related challenges that they may be too embarrassed to discuss openly.
A 2015 report revealed that every month, 500 million women and girls lack the funds to purchase the healthcare supplies they need to maintain proper menstrual hygiene management.
When reading such statistics, one might conclude these numbers reflect conditions in third-world countries, but local lawmakers are beginning to realize that lack of access to tampons and menstrual pads is a challenge for many in Louisiana.
For this reason, on Wednesday evening, The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council will consider a proposal to exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from the city-parish's 2% sales tax as part of a move to offer economic relief to families struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Advocate reports.
If the council votes in favor of the proposal, the tax cut would go into effect on the first day of 2021 and expire at the end of that year. The law would cover both adult and child diapers, as well as tampons, menstrual pads, sanitary napkins, panty liners, menstrual sponges and menstrual cups purchased in city of Baton Rouge and unincorporated areas of the parish.
According to The Advocate, the proposal was introduced by Councilwoman Erika Green and was made possible by state legislation enacted in August.
If approved, the exemption would only apply to the 2% sales tax levied by the city-parish; it would not erase the half-cent sales taxes for the MovEBR infrastructure program and sewage maintenance.
The measure also wouldn't apply to purchases made in the cities of Zachary, Baker and Central, which levy their own sales tax and aren't covered by the city-parish's general sales tax.
The Metro Council will consider the measure during its weekly 4 p.m. meeting.
Residents who would like to offer public comments to council members will be able to do so by means of a live feed on the fourth floor of the River Center Branch Library, next door to City Hall.
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