AB-0479: Common Cents Tax Reform Act: No Tampon Tax, No Diaper Tax

Session: 2017-2018
Author: Gonzalez Fletcher
Status: Vetoed
AAP-CA Position: Support
To view the status of this bill on the State Website, click here.

This bill would eliminate sales tax for all diapers and menstrual products and pay for it with a floor tax on distilled spirits.

Veto Message:

To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 479 without my signature.

This bill and its predecessors have repeatedly singled out specific conditions and proposed a special set of rules that apply to them. This would result in an even more complex workers’ compensation system that would essentially be “disease by statute,” which would ultimately burden injured workers seeking quick resolution to their claims.

Policy questions about the adequacy of the State’s workers’ compensation system are best addressed through empirically based research and analysis. Therefore, I am directing the Division of Workers’ Compensation Administrative Director, in consultation with the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation, to contract with an outside independent research organization to undertake an evidenced based evaluation of the issue. Specifically, the Administrative Director should review the following:
1. Do the standards for determining impairment due to occupational injury or illness accurately reflect the level of impairment caused by industrial cancer?
2. Study and compare the differences between the fifth and sixth editions of the American Medical Association Guides with respect to determining impairment resulting from industrial cancer.
3. Do the standards for determining impairment resulting from industrial cancer exhibit bias based on immutable characteristics such as gender, race or ethnicity?
Every stakeholder in the workers’ compensation system, but specifically the injured workers directly affected, has a vested interest in a comprehensive response to the issues raised by this series of bills. I am directing the Administrative Director to report on these questions by March 1, 2020 in order to inform the Legislature and key stakeholders on how best to address the important issues raised by this bill.


Edmund G. Brown Jr.

AAP Positional Letter

April 14, 2017

The Honorable Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0080
Fax: (916) 319-2180

AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher): Sales and use taxes: exemption: menstrual and incontinence products: alcoholic beverage taxes: distilled spirits: additional surtax


Dear Assemblymember Gonzalez Fletcher:

The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing the 5,000 board-certified pediatrician members of all four California AAP regional chapters statewide, strongly supports your proposed legislation AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher). This bill would exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from sales taxes, and impose an additional tax on distilled spirits in order to make up for lost revenues.

Diapers and feminine hygiene products are, obviously, necessities. However, they are taxed as if they were consumer products, exacting an unfair burden on women and mothers. Low-income women are especially affected by these taxes, which consume a disproportionate part of their income. An inability to afford sufficient feminine hygiene products can have negative consequences for hygiene and health that can result in expensive doctor’s visits, while an insufficient supply of diapers can result in a parent changing their child’s diaper less often than is healthy for the child. Painful diaper rash, skin infections, blisters and urinary tract infections are common outcomes that can be uncomfortable or even dangerous for the child.

AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher) would eliminate sales taxes on these essential products in order to make them more accessible for California women, children, and families while financing this change through an additional tax on distilled spirits. This is consistent with American Academy of Pediatrics policy, which recommends taxes on alcohol products be increased so as to discourage alcohol abuse and thus improve public health.

California pediatricians strongly support AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher). We thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and well-being of children, youth, and families in California.


Nancy Graff, M.D., Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
State Government Affairs Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics, California

CC: Kris Calvin, CEO; AAP-CA Leadership; Lydia Bourne