I noticed one Victor Joecks, who now happens to have a Las Vegas Review-Journal column, complaining about a bill in the Nevada Legislature to repeal the “Pink Tax”, or the surtax the State of Nevada charges on feminine hygiene products. As a strident anti-tax crusader, I figured he’d cheer on any attempt to lower taxes. But perhaps as a man, he just doesn’t understand that tampons are neither a “luxury” nor some “cheap attempt” to “score political points”.

It’s a well-known fact that consumer products, from razors to scooters, are often sold at higher prices when they’re marketed to women. When one adds in the gender pay gap, this causes an extra squeeze on working women who are just trying to provide for their families. Once one takes all this into account, it’s an extra insult to injury that the State of Nevada actually subjects feminine hygiene products, such as tampons, to sales tax.
State Senators Yvanna Cancela (D-Las Vegas) and Joyce Woodhouse (D-Henderson), and Assembly Member Sandra Jaregui (D-Henderson), have submitted a bill draft request (specifically BDR 631) to eliminate this specific “Pink Tax” on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) has not just joined in on this effort, but is pushing legislation in Congress to end the “Pink Tax” on other consumer products that are priced higher than similar items that are marketed to men.
Why is this so hard for Victor Joecks to grasp? “Nevadans and our duly elected representatives have decided to use a sales tax to fund state and local governments. The rate should be uniform and low on all products. We should be taxed on how much we buy, not on who selects or doesn’t select a politically favored good or service.”
In this case, shouldn’t we then address the “Pink Tax”? Candy is not taxed, as it slips into the food exception written into state sales tax law. Candy is not a necessity. Tampons, however, are a necessity for over 50% of the population.
Funny enough, Joecks continues his argument by noting other entities that have scored significant tax exemptions. “Instead, politicians and, yes, voters have used the sales tax to pick winners and losers. Tesla won’t pay sales taxes for 20 years. The sales tax doesn’t apply to groceries or services, and in 2016, voters gave the first of two required approvals for a constitutional amendment that would exempt medical equipment from the sales tax. […] The billionaire backing Faraday got more than $200 million.”
Joecks did point out some interesting examples of “politicians and voters picking winners and losers”. He just left out perhaps the most notable example of such. Joecks’ current employer’s owner pushed for an at least $750 million tax subsidy for a Raiders Stadium in Southern Nevada.
Why does Victor Joecks stridently object to the state simply making a small step to level the playing field for Nevada women while he stays awkwardly silent on his newspaper’s owner pulling out of one of the state’s latest attempts to “pick a winner” by luring a professional sports team to Nevada with tax subsidies?
Think about this: Joecks is complaining about the time-honored political tradition of tax carve-outs, yet he omits one of the largest and most notorious examples of a tax carve-out. Did he just forget to check the headlines at his own newspaper while he was preparing his missive on attempts to correct the “Pink Tax”?
So who’s really trying to “score political points” here? Are these Nevada legislators who seek to correct a historic tax inequity that targets Nevada women just pulling off a “cheap trick”? Or should we look beyond Victor Joecks’ overheated rhetoric to reevaluate the massive tax subsidy program his own employer had been participating in until this week? Last I checked, Nevada women were not the ones demanding state funds for a “top-tier” stadium.