LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas attorney general’s office rejected language for a recently submitted ballot initiative that would exempt feminine hygiene products from state sales tax.
The initiative was introduced by Arkansas Period Poverty Project, a group working to end the tampon tax for products including tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins, and other similar products used for human menstrual cycle.
In an opinion released Monday, Attorney General Tim Griffin said the reason for rejecting the ballot language was ambiguities in the proposed measure did not clarify if its passage would remove Arkansas from compliance with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.
The Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement is a pact among 24 states that looks to simplify and modernize sales and use taxes among states. Under the agreement, Arkansas can enact product-based tax exemptions if those exemptions follow definitions consistent with those in the Streamlined Agreement.
The AG decision noted that the ballot language included a definition of “feminine hygiene products” but did not specifically exclude “grooming and hygiene products,” which are products like soaps and cleaning solutions, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, antiperspirants, and suntan lotions and screens.
The decision goes on to say that lack of clarity could push Arkansas out of Streamline Agreement compact, and since the ballot language does not spell that possible outcome out, the petitioners would need to “redesign” the measure, popular name and ballot title in order to put it in front of voters.
The Arkansas Period Recovery Project released a statement following news of the attorney general’s rejection of the ballot language, with the group stating that it would be “more than happy to make any necessary changes” in order to get approval to put the measure to an upcoming ballot.
On Monday, September 11th APPP and David Couch submitted a ballot measure proposal to the Attorney General’s office in an attempt to remove the sales and use tax on period products.
On Monday, September 25th the Attorney General’s office rejected the proposal with feedback that the language was too generalized. APPP is more than happy to make any necessary changes to gain the Attorney General’s approval so signatures can begin to be collected.