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Lawmakers Seek To Repeal Sales Tax On Diapers

by | Jan 29, 2015 5:30am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Business, State Budget, Taxes, Killingly, Manchester, Waterbury

Cara Rosner photo Two Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation seeking to exempt baby diapers from state sales tax.

The bill, which has been referred to the Children’s Committee, is being spearheaded by Rep. Kelly Luxenberg, D-Manchester, and Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly.

Luxenberg, who is mother to a 10-month-old baby, said she was inspired to introduce the bill when she bought diapers and was surprised to see she was charged sales tax.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I just thought baby diapers, being a necessity, would be tax free.”

In Connecticut, baby diapers are taxable but adult diapers are tax exempt. According to the state Department of Revenue Services, children’s diapers — both cloth and disposable — are considered clothing and therefore are taxed. Adult diapers, on the other hand, are included in an exemption for “certain disposable pads” commonly used by people who are incontinent, according to DRS.

The tax punishes young, working families, Luxenberg said. She estimates that sales tax costs families $300 per child over the span of years in which the child is in diapers.

She said she is awaiting an analysis of how much sales tax diapers generate for the state.

A pack of 32 diapers typically costs around $9. Connecticut’s 6.35-percent sales tax adds another 57 cents to the cost.

While tax is “a small portion” of the total cost, eliminating it would provide some welcome relief to low-income families that struggle to afford diapers, said Janet Stolfi Alfano, executive director of The Diaper Bank, a North Haven-based statewide nonprofit that connects families in need to diapers.

“Diapers are expensive for everyone; for low-income families it’s just exorbitant,” she said. “Anything that the legislature can do to help alleviate the burden of the cost of diapers for families is certainly welcome.”

Diapers are a continuous need for a child’s first three years, she noted, and many Connecticut parents and caregivers can’t afford them. Foregoing diapers has various negative consequences, she said: it can lead to health problems for babies, and can prevent families from accessing childcare since most providers require that an ample number of diapers be left with the child, for instance.

The poorest families in the state typically don’t have access to places where they can buy diapers less expensively, places like discount clubs or online, she said.

Cara Rosner photo Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, formerly known as food stamps, cannot be used to buy diapers.

“It’s a need we see constantly,” Stolfi Alfano said. “We are certainly really happy that (the bill) has been introduced.”

In the past, clothing items costing less than $50, including diapers, were tax exempt in Connecticut. But that exemption was repealed several years ago. The exemption is due to return July 1, but there is no guarantee it won’t disappear again in the future, said Luxenberg.

“Now is the time to make a statement,” she said.

The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee will begin screening various revenue-related bills this week, said committee co-chair Rep. Jeffrey Berger, D-Waterbury.

The state’s revenue stream is “eroding,” which will make it tough for bills seeking to cut taxes, he said.

“It’s going to be very, very difficult for us to be able to look at any proposal that would reduce our revenue at this point,” he said.

To stand a realistic chance, he said, bills would need to be “revenue neutral” with no real fiscal impact or have a “minimal impact” of $100,000 or less.

While legislators are encouraged to submit legislation they feel will benefit their constituents, he said, it would be “presumptuous and reckless” for lawmakers to approve any bills that decrease Connecticut’s revenue stream.

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(19) Archived Comments

posted by: MsAnne | January 29, 2015  8:49am

So the State thinks it’s more important to continue to take, take, take from people who can least afford taxes, the poor who have no choice but to buy diapers, and the not-so-poor as well. DIAPERS of all things being TAXED! Law makers, it’s time to draw the line. I wasn’t aware until this article that diapers are taxed.

Thank you Rep. Kelly Luxenberg, D-Manchester, and Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly for your concern and bringing it to our attention.

CT is the Tax-Me-To-Death state. But DIAPERS?

posted by: MyOpinion | January 29, 2015  9:31am

What about diapers for adults?  What about Formula? What about Glucerna for Diabetics? The list can go on and on..  This is BS. JUST LOWER THE SALES TAX!!

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 29, 2015  11:09am

The Democrats “keep playing games” with an under $50 clothing sales tax exemption.
The burden the taxpayers must bear for voters giving
Dem’s one-party-control of our fiscally besmirched state.

posted by: whatsprogressiveaboutprogressives? | January 29, 2015  11:15am

And this comes as a surprise? Cripe, Danny and the dems are going to need every single diaper to clean up the mess they’ve given us.

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 29, 2015  1:43pm

Another reason why Malloy should volunteer to take a 15% pay cut for making his constituents to continue to pay dearly for his non-executive fiscal incompetence. If our governor ran business like he leads our state it would have gone bankrupt long ago.

posted by: Politijoe | January 29, 2015  7:50pm


The reality of the ever increasing sales tax in various states is in direct response to the dramatic cuts in federal payments to the states. Of course these federal payments have been significantly reduced as a result of enormous tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations. For example in the 1950’s the federal marginal tax rate for the highest earners was 90% in the late 60’s -70’s it was in the 70% range. Over the last thirty-five years that rate has been reduced to about 35% and with loop-holes like the carried interest provision it is 13% and less. Add to this the two-trillion dollar Bush tax cut, his unfunded prescription drug plan and an unfunded illegal war. Now also include a $600 billion dollar military budget (not to mention the 300 million in dark money) and it quickly becomes apparent we have a big problem. Unfortunately, in spite of the rhetoric some conservatives would like us to believe, this is not a spending problem…. It’s a math problem. Fixing the revenue issue is the easy part-simply increase the marginal tax rate on the wealthy to at least Clinton era levels (apx 39-40%) and reduce military spending by 6-8% Americans are under the false impression we can have the highest military costs in the world, the most expensive healthcare of any nation with the lowest taxes in history. Everyone needs to pay their fair share, the consequence is ever increasing state and municipal tax rates, increasing volitivity in our markets, failing infrastructure, inaccessible higher ecucation costs, public school program cuts, continued middle class stagnation and a permanent poverty class with severely limited mobility. The willful ignorance this isn’t about simple math and transferening blame to “takers” is a non-starter. it’s time that we take a long look in the mirror and ask what kind of a nation we want and determine sustainable priorities.

posted by: dano860 | January 29, 2015  9:06pm

Are we to believe that even returning to the 50’s tax rates etc. all would be good and the nation would be what we want it to be?
What would that look like? Free everything, healthcare,phones,food,college,housing, where would we generate taxes from if everything was free?
I find that very hard to believe everything would be hunky dory. We have never had a sustainable system. As soon as it appears we are doing the right thing spending goes through the roof.
I agree military spending can come down without cutting our defense capabilities.
I also believe there needs to be a major thinning of many other departments. There are 22M I.T. employees in the Federal Govt yet they just hired the company from Canada that botched the ACA rollout to handle cyber security. Another billion $ down the tubes there!
We define insanity every dang day…continue to do the same thing expecting different results, crazy!

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 30, 2015  10:44am

@Polijoe: As a die-hard Democrat who condones seeing our country being destroyed by Obama’s socialistic rule, you also have a serious math-deficicancy problem as well.  In six tears of Obamaism he is responsible for raising our national deficit from $16 to 18 trillion dollars.  By far the largest deficit spending president in our history. Like the Democratic National Committee who falsely programmed you don’t blame Bush and the Republicans for the worst President in our history, Barack Hussein Obama, who claims he is still a Democrat.

posted by: Politijoe | January 30, 2015  1:16pm


Dano: your question “Are we to believe that even returning to the 50’s tax rates would be good and the nation would be what we want it to be?”......
No one is advocating for a return to 1950’s marginal tax rate. However if we compare this enormously higher marginal tax rate with the level of production and economic growth of that era against middleclass wages, middleclass share of wealth and the upward mobility of the working poor of the same era you would quickly see that in spite of high taxation of the wealthiest earners and corporations- we had a robust economy. The critical point here is the share of middleclass wages and wealth increased proportionally to economic growth.

“What would that look like”......... What this would look like is an economy that provides equal opportunity via equitable taxation polices that adequately support infrastructure, poverty initiatives, education, healthcare and social programs and middleclass wealth.

“Free everything, healthcare, phones, food, college, housing, where would we generate taxes from if everything was free?”..... Your premise is a false argument attempting to simplify complex issues into a simple narrative.
No one has advocated free everything for everyone-that’s just silly. What has been discussed is tax reform-specifically increasing the marginal tax rate on high earners and corporations to at least Clinton era levels and reducing absurdly high military spending. Additionally we would shore up social security by raising the ceiling. At that point we could begin to once again fund our public schools with sports, music and the arts. We could repair our failing infrastructure, seriously consider free two-year community college tuition for the middleclass and working poor. We could seriously consider universal healthcare. We also should consider progressively expanding the EITC credit. There are a number of steps we should take that are an investment in the middleclass and our nation. We no longer do these things because we have an imbalance of wealth and opportunity. In spite of a robust economy and higher production from middleclass workers their wages have stagnated, upward mobility has fallen behind.
As a result of tax breaks for the wealthiest, historically low marginal rates, huge tax loop-holes, unfunded wars, big pharma deals and a concentration of the nations wealth in the hands of a few we no longer can afford the type of country we as middleclass Americans want and deserve for ourselves, until we begin to recognize these truths as self-evident and subsequently demand a sustainable model of taxation, wealth and opportunity.

posted by: Politijoe | January 30, 2015  6:54pm


Socialbutterfly: your statements appear to be extremely hyperbolic and basically political bomb throwing. For instance your statement “our country is being destroyed by Obama’s socialistic rule”….. this indicates to me that your use of the term socialist is flippant and your’e probably unclear of the definition of socialism.

You then state “you also have a serious math-deficicancy”….. the problem here is that you haven’t indicated that any of the data I’ve provided is incorrect-therefore by default the facts stand.

You went on to cite the deficits, however in typical simplistic thinking you left out any context. Such as: the President isn’t responsible for the budget deficit that accrues for his first calendar year in office because the budget for January through September of that year is already set by the prior President. Taking this into account it is the Bush wall street bailout.

Secondly Congress does have a role in presidential budgets and deficits since it must approve the budget. There is also the mandatory component of the budget which is also approved by Congress and yes Republicans ran the house and approved these budgets for the last several years.

With that said, we have had large spending under Obama however, Obama’s budgets included the economic stimulus which added 780 billion but probably kept the nation out of a depression. His budget included extending unemployment benefits and public works projects which help millions of Americans during the worst economy in 80 years.

Although he did prolong the two middle east wars for longer than most Democrats would’ve liked, it also increased the budget.

Lets also keep in mind that Federal revenues were down significantly as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.

Central to my point and critical to this discussion is that the nation has had to compensate for lower revenue thanks to President Reagan’s and President Bush’s tax cuts.

So please save the patriotic teabagger rhetoric for those who don’t know any better or who don’t care to know better. When you claim Obama is the worst president in history it ignores the Bush Patriot Act, an illegal invasion of a country that posed no threat or association with 9/11, the trillions of dollars and millions of lives lost on a war as a result of the Bush administration lying to the American people, or the fact we were torturing people. It ignores the fact Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined. It ignores illegal government wiretapping of Americans, Katrina, Walter Reed, or Americans lost of 12 trillion dollars as a result of the worse economic collapse in eighty years.

But by all means remind us again how this litany of illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, millions of job losses, enormous tax cuts and the worst economic disaster since 1929 is ok with you but “Obama is the worse president in history.”

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | January 30, 2015  8:35pm

What about beer? And weed? Should we tax things that make us happy?


posted by: dano860 | January 31, 2015  12:02am

I still find it hard to believe that redistribution of wealth is the answer.
The rebuilding years after the ‘Big One’ we’re just that. I remember the pride of having won the war, the ability to have a job where you felt as though you were contributing to the advancement of the country. I remember being proud of your country.
Blaming the inequality of today’s America on a few wealthy people is neglecting the fact of the America we have is the one we wanted. We want none expensive goods, products and services, well that drove our production to places of cheap labor and fewer regulations. There went those fine manufacturing jobs and the beginning of the middle class demise. I know, my father was one of them. He went on to higher education and a better paying job but really missed the hands on feeling of contributing. Almost 40 years later I was in the same situation. I was a toolmaker that was moved to management. I hated it but the check kept me there. Now in retirement I’m getting back into chip making for a hobby again.
We love our sports and movies. Therefore the players and actors command big, no huge pay checks. Whose fault is that? We have a large portion of our youth attempting to be one of those people. America has talent, Star Search, Voices have larger audiences than the State of the Union or a Presidential debate.
Then we have a newly elected Senator claiming the need to eliminate the tax that she just help enact when she was in the House of Representatives. You have to forgive her though, she doesn’t know what she wants or understand what she votes on. That vote to abolish the tax on clothing under $50 included diapers. She either didn’t care about diapers then or didn’t read the bill. You chose one.
So in the end the question remains, what do we want to look like? Fewer wealthy, more middle class and illegals doing all the marginal work. Doesn’t work for me!

posted by: dano860 | January 31, 2015  8:54am

I will agree with you on the war issues. Pull our people out now! We cannot win anything over there, they have time on their side. That’s all those third world countries have.
Strengthening our borders is our primary need today.
Remember, our government’s number one job is to provide safety and protection to our citizens.

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 31, 2015  2:44pm

Politijoe All wars are illegal wars, and although you, prompted by the DNC, keep blaming a Republican George W. Bush, for starting the Iraq War, Congress authorized the war by favorable vote. Democratic President’s started our wartime prosperity when Pres. Franklin Delano Roosvelt forced Japan to attack us at Pearl Harbor, to end the Great Depression financial era.  Pres. Harry Truman solved a past-World War II recession by involving us in a no-win Korean War with left us with a nuclear threat in North Korea.  Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson continued the Democratic wartime prosperity with a war he started and U.S. lost in Viet Nam.  So please stop
your blaming a Republican presidenial your described war-monger Pres G. W. Bush for the Iraq War, when he was well-trained by prior Democratic president’s for wartime prosperity that have left our cemeteries
full of war veterans, along with over-booked Veteran’s Administration Medical Centers.

posted by: Truth_To_Power | January 31, 2015  3:36pm

PolitJoe says: “Lets also keep in mind that Federal revenues were down significantly as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.

Central to my point and critical to this discussion is that the nation has had to compensate for lower revenue thanks to President Reagan’s and President Bush’s tax cuts.

So please save the patriotic teabagger rhetoric for those who don’t know any better or who don’t care to know better.”

Gotta love a long-winded poster who thinks he has won an argument by name-calling and derogatory references to ‘teabagger rhethoric’ and not knowing any better, while completely glossing over the real truth that Democratic laws, regulations and pressure on the banking and lending industries were directly responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. Can you say DODD-FRANK?

Why the selective memory about who pushed for the lowering of lending standards, unless it’s to falsely support your foolish narrative?

Yes, PolitJoe, you clearly know better and stand heads and shoulders above all others with YOUR knowledge and rhetoric. So which is it: do you not know better or merely don’t care to know better?

posted by: Politijoe | February 1, 2015  12:36am


Dano: in response to your thoughts that you find it hard to believe that redistribution of wealth is the answer. I would simply state much the problems identified are the result of a redistribution of wealth (from the bottom up) over the last thirty-five years, therefore it should stand to reason that a redistribution of wealth in the form of equitable tax reforms, from the top down would in fact correct many of these issues if history is any indication.
I happen to completely agree with your sentiments regarding the great middleclass era when as you stated “the middleclass had the ability to have a job and felt as though you were contributing to the advancement of the country.”  However, suggesting that I’m somehow “blaming the inequality of today’s America on a few wealthy people” is inaccurate, I don’t blame anyone for their wealth, their accomplishments or station in life. What I object to is the inequitable benefits that have provided enormous gains to the wealthy at the expense of the working poor and middleclass.
With that said, I do agree with your assessment that Americans priorities are misaligned, the examples you pointed out regarding our desire for inexpensive goods, products and services that drive our production to places of cheap labor and our propensity to reward lavish salaries onto celebrities, musicians and athletes and the fact that Idol, Star Search, and Voices have larger audiences than the State of the Union or a Presidential debate are all great illustrations of misguided priorities.
However, your statement “ What do we want to look like? Fewer wealthy, more middle class and illegals doing all the marginal work.”
This statement seems to suggest that I’m in favor of limiting individual wealth, limiting the number of wealthy or stealing their wealth. It therefore bears repeating that what I’m opposed to is a disproportionate concentration of wealth as a result of inequitable taxation policies that come at the expense of the working poor and middleclass. Furthermore the inadequate federal revenues, as a result of these failed tax policies, compromise our infrastructure, education and add more pressure on states and municipalities to raise taxes on the middleclass. I think this much we can agree on, yes?

posted by: Politijoe | February 1, 2015  1:00am


Socialbutterfly:  your ridiculous statement that “All wars are illegal wars” is transparently disingenuous. Even you know the difference regarding Iraq.
Although Congress authorized the war by favorable vote the critical point your avoiding is the reason which we went to war….The Bush administration lied to the congress, the American people and the world regarding Iraq’s role in 9/11 and WMD’s, so again, please spare the rest of us this alternate reality and lets at least begin with the facts in order to learn from the horrible mistake of allowing another president to mislead a nation into war under false pretenses. A war that involved invading a nation that posed no immediate threat, cost our nation over three trillion dollars and thousands of lives and upset the balance of power for decades in one of the most volatile regions in the world

Your statements regarding Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson are merely conjecture and conspiracy theory not fact and have absolutely nothing to do with the conversation regarding taxation policies, federal revenues or expenditures. If you feel the data I’ve provided regarding inequitable taxation polices, concentration of wealth and middleclass stagnation is inaccurate then I would welcome conflicting data that supports your position. This consistent attempt to distract from the dialog with silly abstract theories of reality is quite monotonous

posted by: Politijoe | February 1, 2015  1:54am


Truthtopower: Im providing information and context as it pertains to taxation policies, federal revenues, expenditures and the subsequent negative outcomes those policies have had on the middleclass, education, infrastructure, state/local taxation, wealth concentration. There’s no indication you disagree with ANY of those points but you take issue with the nuances regarding financial deregulation? This appears to be a different dialog, however since you seem interested and obviously know just enough to get yourself in trouble let me share some insight and context regarding wall street deregulation….for the record, Im not sure how Dodd-Frank contributed to the economic cirises in 2008 since it wasn’t legislation until 2010 but we’ll get to that, in the meantime here are the highlights…

In 1978 the Marquette case was heard by the Supreme court which allowed banks to export the usury laws of their home states nationwide which began a wave of deregulation.

The Garn-St Germain act in 1982 deregulated thirfts entirely and led to the massive S&L bailouts.

Glass-Steagall in December 1986 the Federal Reserve reinterpreted the Glass-Steagall restrictions and ruled that a bank could derive up to five per cent of gross revenues in investment banking business. This trend continued the following year, by allowing banks to participate in underwriting, and trading municipal bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

The Financial Services Modernization Act, also known as the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act enacted by Republicans Sen. Phil Gramm (R, Texas), Rep. Jim Leach (R, Iowa), and Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R, Virginia) in 2000 essentially brought an end to the Glass-Steagall by removing barriers between commercial and investment banks, as well as securities and insurance firms. It led to the creation of the huge entities on Wall Street,

The Dodd-Frank Consumer protection and Wall Street Reform Act was signed into federal law by President Obama in July 2010 and was the most sweeping set of regulations and reforms to be imposed on the banking industry since Glass-Steagall and contains the Volcker Rule, which will ban banks from proprietary trading.

With that said it appears you also take issue with the length of a post, however, in spite of your desire to dumb-down complex issues such as tax policy, economics and financial degregulation I find it extremely difficult to present this type of information on a bumper-sticker. As I’ve said, should you have data that contradicts what I’ve presented on the initial discussion of taxation, wealth concentration, middleclass stagnation or financial deregulation and how that pertains to taxation, wealth and middleclass please, I’d love to hear from you.

posted by: SocialButterfly | February 1, 2015  1:08pm

@Politijoe; you are entitled to your frequent opinions but please do not knock mine as abstract themes. Your constant partisan pro-Obama dialog only names Pres. George W. Bush for our Iraq ventured wartime prosperity, but choose to close your eyes to Democratic wartime prosperity starting wars by Democratic president’s since World War II. Obama added to our United States troop numbers in Afghanistan substantially but won no war, only added to our casualties in dead veteran’s in our cemeteries and the high number of war veteran’s seeking medical help in our over-booked Veteran’s Administration Medical Centers.  You can’t keep blaming Bush for our massive six-year trillion dollar deficits under Barack Obama’s failed policies, although you are encouraged by the Democratic National Committee to promote that seriously abstract theme. You can’t write an honest blog when you only can exhibit to be a one-party politically-controlled writer.

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