By Jamie Leary

DENVER (CBS4)– The Denver City Council is getting ready to make a final vote on whether to eliminate sales tax on feminine hygiene products. The bill is set for a final vote Tuesday night.

It defines feminine hygiene products as “products that are designed to absorb or contain menstrual flow. Feminine hygiene products include but are not limited to, tampons, menstrual pads and sanitary napkins, panty-liners, menstrual sponges, and menstrual cups.”

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What has become known as the tampon tax bill seeks to not only eliminate the city and county sales tax of 4.3 percent but reclassify feminine hygiene products as medically necessary.

In 2017, state legislators voted down eliminating the tampon tax. A big issue was the cost to the state, which was estimated at over $2 million in lost tax revenue the first year.

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The city projects it will lose an average of $400,000 from the exemption.

The argument by proponents is that many women can’t afford the products without sacrificing something else.

“Regardless of your background and your income level, you shouldn’t have to choose between food or period supplies for yourself,” said Melissa Schwass.

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Schwass is the co-founder of the non-profit Period Kits. The company packs and distributes kits to help women manage their periods. The kits come complete with 90 days’ worth of tampons, maxi pads and panty-liners. They also include underwear, Advil and feminine wipes.

Period Kits has been operational for just three months and is already in high demand. The goal is to make 1,000 kits in 2019.

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“We’ve built 271 kits this year and we’re going to be out of them by the end of the week. Easy,” said Geoff Davis, Period Kits director.

Davis says he doesn’t mind being the voice of the man in the tampon tax mix. He says his wife and five daughters couldn’t be more proud.

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“I think any of the stigmas that come around periods generally come from men and so it’s up to us to start having the conversations and using the words and having that dialogue that destigmatizes it for everybody.”

He believes the tax exemption will make a difference. Not only by lowering the cost but by brining attention to the barrier the cost creates.

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“There are girls that are in Denver Public Schools, they are missing school because they can’t afford products.”

Although the sales tax may be eliminated city and county-wide, the female hygiene products will still be subject to state, RTD, and Cultural Facility taxes.

Period Kits relies on donations and community participation to pack its kits. For more information on how to get involved.

Jamie Leary