Women's rights advocates grow tired of equality measures failing in LA

Women's rights advocates grow tired of equality measures failing in LA

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana lawmakers shot down a measure that would have classified feminine hygiene products and children's diapers as tax exempt.

It is commonly referred to as the "Pink Tax." The tax exemption recently passed in New York, but a similar measure in Louisiana was rejected in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.

Women's rights advocates are growing tired of seeing their efforts fail in the state Legislature.

"We do understand the situation with the state and that exemptions are subjects to debate because of the financial situation of the state, but we think that the other topic trumps that," Legislative Agenda for Women's Rosalind Blanco Cook said.

LAW has pushed for gender equality in Louisiana for the past several years as the state ranks 50th, with women earning 68 cents for every dollar paid to men. Cook believes having women's equality measures rejected year after year is telling.

"All of those bills get completely shot down," she said. "We do feel like perhaps the business the business community and others do have a situation with bills that concern women."

Slidell Sen. Sharon Hewitt voted against the SB 27. She said she rejected the measure because of the state's financial situation.

"For me, it was a matter of principal and not wanting to continue to add exemptions," Hewitt said. "I think we need to actually be moving in the opposite direction, and I think we need to simplify things between all the different pennies of sales tax."

The state's deficit remains at more than $300 million for this fiscal year. The state would have lost an estimated $13 million in revenue if the tax exemption had passed.

"I think we need to move toward looking at simplifying, having fewer exemptions and less tax," Hewitt said.

However, Cook does not buy that claim and believes lawmakers have a responsibility to work toward what she called fair taxation.

"We do feel like it's a certain amount of inequality, and the ole boys club gets involved with that of what's acceptable and what's not acceptable," she said.

Several bills advocating for equal pay for women were filed this session. All of them failed in the House Labor Committee.

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