To the Editor: An open letter from Vermont students to Vermont officials requesting that page 53 be passed.
We, the undersigned Vermont students, wish to convey the urgency of the passage on page 53. Period poverty is real and pervasive and affects many Vermonters. You have an opportunity to end this and build the same foundation that all menstruating Vermonters deserve.
Under applicable Vermont law, menstrual products are taxed at a 6 percent tax rate. These products are not a luxury but a human right. Our state’s laws and paperbacks must be aligned with our priorities and values. To continue the tax on period products, one must conclude that those who actually menstruate do not deserve the dignity and equality that comes with exemption. Allowing the tax on period products to persist is part of our suppression.
A closer look at our state’s tax laws reveals a story about our priorities. When items like garters, garter belts, belts, and hosiery are tax-free, but necessities like period products are not, it becomes clear who writes the law and what their intent is for those who menstruate. When costumes and lingerie are tax-exempt but the products essential to our employee participation and well-being are not, we know we are not the priority.
In Vermont, one in four single mothers struggles to meet their needs, and a recent study found that one in five teenagers struggles to afford and shop for menstrual supplies. These people are often the backbone of our communities and deserve better. We deserve better.
The lack of access to historical products affects an individual’s ability to keep a job and generate an income with it. If this state works for justice as much as we say, we will pass p.53 and begin to spare these Vermonters the shame and humiliation that comes with a shortage of products out of time.
Legislators in this state are always talking about how young people should stay here. If you really think you can make Vermont a place where we no longer fear the poverty of time because our government believes having the care we need is a luxury.
Please grant us the respect, dignity, and opportunity we deserve by saying goodbye to p.53.
With urgency and persistence
Youth organizing coalition: Iris Hsiang, Fatima Khan, Zenavia Wilcox, Tilly Krishna, Eva Frazier, Cole Glider, Sofia Smith, Sophia Clark, Gabe Groveman, Tokitierata Ambo, Maia George, Sabina Brochu, Olivia Miller, Wade Winter, Morgan Marckres, Merry Smith , Caitlin Balon, Livia Ball, Lily Merchant, Rachel Yandow, Elizabeth Messier, Maria Hurn, Izzy Hopkins, Ella Newman, Ines Horozovic, Elleanor Beaulieu, Mia Phillips, Sydney Martin, Molly Ardren, Amelia Duffy, Alexandra Knight, Laura Shands, Lucy Renaud, Trenton Sisters, Hazel Fay, Paige Walker, Celia McClintock, Faith Ploof, Ella Skinner-Sloan, Olivia Toomey, Evalin Pachman, Emma Boudreaux, Ali Stevens, Hannah Gilbert, Madi Drew, Lisa Taki, Rachel Bartholf, Avi Bauer, Maddy Holcomb, Jemma Brinker, Bryan House, Eliot Dy, Ellie Blackburn, Valentin Giesey, Claire Knowles, Emma Roberge, Endrina Biqkaj, Lucious Karki, Sarah Sciortino, Susannah Smith, Amalia Iskandarova, Molly Caffry
Editor’s Note: In a similar development, the Vermont Senate passed S.115 last week, which contains a provision ensuring that menstruating students have access to free products in all Vermont schools.