Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and Representative Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando) have filed legislation to prevent families from being charged sales tax when purchasing diapers and adult incontinence undergarments. If passed, SB 246 would make Florida the sixteenth state to remove sales tax charges for these essential health and hygiene products.
“It’s time to stop taxing Florida families for essential healthcare items,” says Leader Book, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs. “Caring for young children and adults with incontinence issues comes with overwhelming costs. For the health, safety, and dignity of families, Florida should join other states across the country and stop taxing these necessary healthcare items.”
This will be Leader Book’s fifth Session fighting to ease the diaper need felt by 1 in 3 U.S. families; this year, Representative Eskamani will also bring her voice to the fight.
“As Ranking Member of the Ways & Means Committee, I am committed to making life easier for working families and everyday people,” says Representative Eskamani. “After collaborating with so many diaper banks throughout the state it’s become even more clear to me that we must eliminate the sales tax on diapers — this is a regressive tax on a necessary item and parents should not be taxed for meeting the basic needs of their kids.”
Diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps, and families cannot be receiving federal or state cash assistance except for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to be eligible to get diapers at no cost from diaper banks.
Disposable diapers can cost families more than $70 per month, creating significant cost burden for low-income families. Forty-nine percent of Florida’s children under age 3 live in low-income families, as do 10 percent of Florida’s elders. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “the cost [of diapers] can consume 6 percent of total annual pay. For the lowest-income parents, it’s as much as 14 percent.”
Relatedly, Florida eliminated sales tax for tampons and feminine hygiene products in 2017.