Armwood H.S. students against "tampon tax" head to Tallahassee

- This year, state lawmakers are debating what's become known as the "tampon tax."

It refers to the inclusion of feminine hygiene products on the list of items not exempt from Florida's sales tax.

A group of Armwood High School students don't think it's fair.

This week, they're spending a few days in Tallahassee hoping to encourage lawmakers to end the tax on the products.

"In today's society, women are out working on their own. We can't just sit and home and just lay around because it's that time of the month," said senior student Kelsey Keathley.

With items like tampons and pads subject to Florida's 6.25% state sales tax, an estimated $15 million dollars flow into the state budget each year.

Meanwhile, hundreds of items are exempt from potato chips to American flags to marshmallows.

And, that's where the frustration stems from.

"Your cycle isn't really something you control and right now, it's considered a luxury tax. It's actually a biological function," said senior student Destiny Pilcher.

Keathley and Pilcher are members of Armwood High School's "Ought To Be A Law" program, which, in past years, has successfully helped pass bills, including one that increased penalties for teachers who have sex with students.

This school year, they teamed up with local Representative Jake Raburn, who's helping them bring their message to Tallahassee.

Senate Bill 176 and House Bill 63 both aim to make feminine hygiene products state tax exempt.

These students hope that. the more co-sponsors they add to the bills, the more likely they'll pass.

On the flip side, if the bills pass, the state will have to find a way to recoup millions of dollars elsewhere.

The students say it's about bridging the gender gap and not subjecting women to a state sales tax on a product that's a necessity.

"This really makes me mad. I am so for this bill," Keathley said. "We plan to tell them that it's not fair that women are taxed on something that is necessary for us."

Their teacher, Tony Pirotta is proud to see how far they've come.

"They've learned that it doesn't matter how old you are in our society," Pirotta said. "When democracy is working, it's for everyone. And, whether you're 18 or 85, if you're willing to get involved and say something, you can be a part of the solution."

Tuesday, the students will meet with lawmakers.

But, Wednesday, they'll actually be at a committee meeting, talking about the importance of this bill.

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