Democratic California lawmakers on Thursday announced revised proposals to exempt feminine hygiene products and diapers from sales taxes after the governor vetoed the move last year.
Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher of San Diego and Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens announced a bill that would fund their proposed sales tax exemptions with increased taxes on hard liquor.
They proposed the exemptions last year without a way to replace the revenue that would be lost from the change. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the measures along with several other tax break bills.
"Tax breaks are the same as new spending," he wrote in his veto message. "As such, they must be considered during budget deliberations so that all spending proposals are weighted against each other at the same time."
California law exempts some necessities including food and prescription medicines from sales taxes. The assemblywomen say tampons, pads and diapers are also necessities that should not be taxed. Exempting diapers from sales taxes could save a young family as much as $100 annually, they said.
"Liquor is a choice and a luxury and female biology is not," Garcia said during a news conference at the Capitol. "It's time we tax liquor before ladies, booze before babies."
Their bill, AB479, would increase taxes on hard liquor under 100 proof by $1.20 per gallon — which they say amounts to less than 2 cents per drink — and on liquor over 100 proof by $2.40 per gallon. The bill would levy the taxes on distributors and would not increase taxes on beer and wine.
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To pass, the bill requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature because it would increase taxes.