Huggies, Pampers and other diapers could become tax-free in Missouri (LISTEN)
A visit to Happy Bottoms Diaper Bank in the Kansas City area inspired a Missouri lawmaker to help families with their financial bottom line.
State Rep. Patty Lewis, D-Kansas City, filed a bill that would exempt diapers from sales tax. It would cover child and adult diapers.
“It was very eye-opening. I think I was a bit naive about how diaper insecurity impacted the whole family, you know, mentally, financially, and from a health care perspective,” says -she.
Lewis points to a study showing that the average Missouri family spends about $1,500 a year on diapers. Currently, diapers are considered a luxury item and are taxed at 4.2%.
“Saving 4.2% of $1,500 would be significant, especially these days,” says Lewis.
When it comes to the health issues that can come from not having diapers, Lewis knows that. She has over 20 years of healthcare experience as a Critical Care/Critical Care Registered Nurse, as well as a Healthcare Director.
“Sitting in dirty diapers for several hours can lead to dermatitis or diaper rash, UTIs. UTIs, if left untreated and/or prolonged, can lead to high blood pressure, kidney failure. I mean that it can be quite significant,” she says.
Lewis says the bill does not exempt sales tax for other diaper-related items, such as baby wipes and diaper rash products.
“According to one of the research papers I had, it was said that in New York and Connecticut, when they enacted a tax exemption on diaper products, they saw an increase in sales of diapers from 5.4% and a reduction in children’s painkillers and purchases of 6.2%,” says Lewis.
According to Lewis, ten states have sales tax exemptions similar to what she proposes. Several states have tax exemptions or a lower tax rate for diapers.
The expected cost to the state is approximately $16-28 million.
The bill has not yet gone to committee.
To view House Bill 2384, click here.
To listen to Show Me Today’s interview with Rep. Patty Lewis, click below.