Testimony in Support of SB040 – Sales & Use Tax, Diaper Exemption

SB040 – Sales and Use Tax – Diapers – Exemption
January 8, 2020

Maryland NOW believes in economic justice and equity for all, therefore we submit this written testimony today in support of SB040, introduced by Senator Clarence Lam.

Like adult diapers and menstrual products, infant/children’s diapers are a medical necessity and should be considered as such in terms of taxation. Currently, the state of Maryland is one of two states that only considers adult diapers a medical necessity, and therefore tax exempt, while not offering sales tax relief on children’s diapers.

Children require at least 50 diaper changes a week, or 200 diaper changes per month, depending on the age of the child. When parents cannot afford the cost of diapers, they may delay changing their children’s diapers, which can result in diaper rash, urinary tract infections, and yeast infections. Severe diaper rash can also lead to open sores, which leaves the child vulnerable to more serious infections, such as staph and strep.

Another consideration is that 76% of Maryland children live in households where both parents work. Many daycare providers require parents to provide disposable diapers for their children; so even if parents are utilizing re-usable, cloth diapers at home, they must purchase disposable diapers for daycare. If parents are unable to afford diapers, this may prevent a parent from returning from work, impacting the overall family income level, and could contribute to a cycle of poverty. Parents experiencing diaper need are also at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress – which is detrimental to the parents and children.

By exempting infant/children’s diapers from sales tax, families would be able to purchase more diapers for less and the state would be taking one step further to even the playing field and help reduce the financial burden to women in the state of Maryland. Maryland NOW respectfully asks you to promote economic justice for Maryland women by voting yes on SB040.

Jennierose D’Elia-Dufour
(p): 201-303-1015
Council Member, Maryland National Organization for Women
President, Montgomery County National Organization for Women