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South Carolina House OKs tax cut on feminine hygiene items

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A bill to eliminate the state sales tax on feminine hygiene products has passed the South Carolina House.

Representatives voted unanimously Wednesday to get rid of the so-called "period tax," exempting the 6% state sales tax and extra local tax from items like tampons, pads and sanitary napkins.

The bill beat a legislative deadline and can be taken up regularly by the Senate.

Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, who sponsored the bill, said it is unfair to tax a small group of the population for items they need when other necessities like medicine, food and utilities are not taxed. She also said the sales tax is regressive and younger, poorer women get hurt the most by the period tax.

Cobb-Hunter said if the bill becomes law, then supporters need to take advantage of the extra savings and make sure period products get into schools and other places women can easily get them.

"We still have girls in schools who are not able to access these products. so we want to make sure we finish the job," she said.

If it becomes law, the state could expect to lose $5.9 million and local government would lose about $1.4 million, according to economists who forecast the state budget.

South Carolina collects about $4.4 billion yearly in sales tax.

About half of the 45 U.S. states with a sales tax exempt feminine hygiene products.