New budget includes prohibition of discriminatory “pink tax”

Photo courtesy of New York City Consumer Affairs

Amongst the highlights of the FY 2021 Budget was the outlawing of gender-based price discrimination on almost identical products known as the “pink tax.”

Under the new legislation, specific service suppliers will now have to understand the prohibition of the “pink tax” and provide price lists of items upon request. Any business that rejects this legislation or doesn’t follow its guidelines can face civil penalties. 

Everyday items like shampoo, razors, deodorant and that alike have been significantly higher in price for women for many years. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that women spend 7 percent more than men on average. For personal care items, women pay 13 percent more. 

Throughout this past year, there have been many campaigns, hashtags and websites to end Pink Tax. Back in February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo participated in the hashtags #Pinktax and #Stopthepinktax. There is also #Axthepinktax, which began from a website launched by the European Wax Center to raise awareness to the reality of gender-based pricing. The website offers Pink Tax facts and even has a calculator for women to find out how much Pink Tax has cost them in their lifetime. 

This legislation is one of many in the FY 2021 Budget, with a budget cost in the high billions. The enacted budget fact sheet stated: “All funds spending is estimated to total approximately $177 billion and state operating spending is authorized up to $105.8 billion, however in the absence of additional federal assistance or a faster than anticipated economic recovery, spending will initially total $95.8 billion.”

The prohibition of the pink tax would eliminate this financial gap and ensure equal costs for all genders.

“Our state’s financial situation has been thrust into a true economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet even in this crisis we managed to achieve a balanced budget that includes victories for the people of New York,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, said.  

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, state officials and lawmakers pushed to “increase education aid, protect health care spending, and maintain essential services New Yorkers rely on.” 

“The Senate Majority will continue to fight for our progressive values and priorities in the months ahead,” Stewart-Cousins said.