Senate Bill 379 to bring relief to nonprofits, low-income residents

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:28 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Senate Bill 379 went into effect this month causing menstrual products, diapers, and maternity clothes to now be tax-free in Texas.

The new law is repealing what’s become known as the tampon tax and two prominent nonprofit organizations in the Texas Panhandle have expressed enthusiasm for the passing of Senate Bill 379, believing it will significantly benefit their clients.

“You know sales tax doesn’t seem like a really huge thing in the big picture. But for someone experiencing poverty, it would be very, very dramatic,” says Jeff Gulde, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle.

Area nonprofits believe this sales tax exemption will reduce the financial burden on those who menstruate and provide more financial flexibility for low-income families.

“They’re stretching stuff to make it to a paycheck and so they’re counting pennies and dollars and they’re putting things back from their shopping cart in order to be able to meet their family’s needs. A little bit, pennies, a dollar makes a huge difference when they’re trying to just make sure they’re fed for the week,” explains Michelle Shields, Director of Advocacy for Family Support Services.

Family support services and catholic charities say low-income residents aren’t the only ones who will benefit.

“To have that burden lifted from them, that allows them to further stretch those dollars that are difficult to manage anyway. Given the inflation we are seeing in rising gas prices anything that cuts costs for our clients helps us help them stretch their resources,” says Gulde. “A rising tide lifts all boats and so in this case when the state is helping Texans across the state with this tax recension that it will help us serve more people.”

Shields says a change like this is part of a bigger picture.

“It’s sending a message that our state cares about these types of things and that it is expensive for people to provide basic needs, and this is one way that the state can be helping those people,” says Shields.

Senate Bill 379 also makes the following tax-free:

  • insulin
  • prosthetics
  • a hypodermic syringe or needle
  • hospital beds
  • blood glucose monitoring test strips
  • diapers
  • feminine hygiene products
  • maternity clothes
  • baby bottles
  • breast pump

Click here for the full list of all that Senate Bill 379 addresses.