JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Lawmakers in the Missouri House of Representatives have filed nine bills that would either reduce or eliminate taxes on diapers and feminine hygiene products.

Both Democrat and Republican officials say such measures would provide much-needed financial relief to families during a time of increased inflation.

This isn’t a new idea. Proposals have been made in the House since before the pandemic.

At present, the Missouri sales tax rate is 4.225%. However, certain food products are taxed at a far lower rate of 1.225%. The focus of many of these proposals would be lowering the rate at which diapers and items like tampons are taxed, from 4.225% to 1.225%. Other bills being pushed in the House would eliminate the tax altogether on those goods.

For example, Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) said his proposal would drop the tax on other hygiene products as well.

“Toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, but I do exempt sort of luxury cosmetic-type products,” he said. “So I think, again, the basic necessities, people just shouldn’t be paying taxes on them.”

Twelve Democrats and four Republicans are sponsoring or co-sponsoring the bills. None have been approved by committee just yet.

Rep. Phil Christofanelli (R-St. Peters), who is sponsoring his own bill to reduce the tax, believes past pushes to lower or eliminate the tax have failed because lawmakers worried about reduced revenues for local governments.

“But I think this one’s important, particularly in our time of inflation, where the basic necessities for so many working families are incredibly high, and we want to be a culture that encourages stable families and child-rearing and a vibrant family culture, and this is part of that, make sure that families can afford the necessities of raising kids,” he said.

Congresswoman Jo Doll (D-St. Louis) has two bills under consideration, one of which would require all public schools in the state to provide feminine hygiene products to students at no cost.

“You might have them in your bathroom at home and all of a sudden you’re at school and you need one, and you don’t want to have to go ask your math teacher, or the nurse, even, for a tampon,” she said. “There’s a huge mental health factor in just security that you always have those products available.”

According to the Missouri House, the bills that have been filed are:

HB 114 (Sharp)
HB 126 (Nurrenburn)
HB 145 & HB 408 (Doll)
HB 290 (Patty Lewis)
HB 351 (Christofanelli)
HB 381 (Rasheen Aldridge, Jr.)
HB 744 (Stephanie Hein)
HB 1053 (Barbara Phifer)
HB 1136 (Merideth)