by Corrine Casanova
Question 2, also known as the “pink tax” and Question 4, the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act will also be on the ballot this November. While neither of them are swirling in controversies like the energy choice and renewable energy initiatives in Questions 3 and 6, there are a few things you should know about, as they pertain to taxes.
The Pink Tax
According to a 2015 study conducted by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, women are paying thousands of dollars more over the course of their lives to purchase similar products as men. They claim products marketed toward women cost an average of seven percent more than products marketed toward men. The state of California studied the issue of gender-based pricing of services and estimated that women effectively paid an annual “gender tax” of approximately $1,351 for the same services as men. Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida have all outlawed the “pink tax.” Now Nevada, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arizona, and Ohio are considering it in the November election.
Question 2, “the pink tax” would exempt certain feminine hygiene products from being taxed in Nevada. “Because the Sales and Use Tax Act of 1955 was enacted by referendum, it can only be changed by a vote of the people. The requested exemption is not a radical change in the law, instead, it’s a clarification,” said James Wadhams, a government affairs attorney at Fennemore Craig.
Medical Patient Tax Relief Act
Question 4, the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act, proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to exempt certain durable medical equipment and mobility enhancing devices from any tax upon the sale, storage, use or consumption of tangible personal property. Voters in 2016 passed it, but it requires a second vote this year to amend the Constitution. “Question 4 is amending the Sales and Use Tax Act just like Question 2, but in this particular case, they are doing it by amending the Constitution to give the legislature the power to amend the statute. It says the legislature has the power to provide for the exemption of oxygen tanks, nebulizers, drug infusion devices and a whole range of devices that were probably not used in the 1950s in a healthcare environment. Question 4 is really adding modern technology as well as hard goods that people use to compensate for structural or systemic problems. “It’s interesting that drafters of Questions 2 and 4 took two different routes to get there (referendum and Constitutional amendment) but are doing the same thing with tax exemptions,” concluded Wadhams.