Since her first Legislative Session in 2017, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book has pushed to make diapers tax-free in Florida. With the 2022 budget approved, it looks as if she has finally secured that tax exemption for families.
One catch: While Book has pushed to make the tax exemption permanent, the budget provision approved by lawmakers puts the exemption into effect only for one year. Nevertheless, it’s a long-sought win for Book.
Before the 2022 Session, Book and Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani proposed legislation that would set up a permanent tax break for child and adult diaper purchases. Book has stumped for a version of that legislation for years.
“It’s time to stop taxing Florida families for essential health care items,” Book said in a statement announcing the bill ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session. “For the health, safety, and dignity of families, Florida should join other states across the country and stop taxing these necessary health care items.”
The bill came up short again this year, but last month, House negotiators floated an idea to insert a one-year tax exemption into the budget. That proposal stuck, and lawmakers approved the budget Monday, putting an end to the 2022 Legislative Session.
While Gov. Ron DeSantis holds line-item veto power over budget provisions, he expressed strong support Monday for the tax exemption and thanked Democratic lawmakers Book and Eskamani for pushing the effort forward.
“It wasn’t my idea, give them credit. They did a tax holiday for diapers. All of you know how much these diapers cost,” DeSantis said. “My oldest is out of them. My middle kid’s almost out of them, but I got the one little girl that still has a lot of diapers left, and so that is going to be a huge relief to a lot of parents throughout the state of Florida.”
Eskamani joined Book on the 2021 effort as well, and contemplated adding the provision into last year’s budget. But she withdrew an amendment to do so, explaining at the time that her GOP colleagues expressed interest in setting up the exemption and targeting the 2022 Session to do so.
“I just feel so honored that the trust I had in my colleagues was fulfilled,” Eskamani said last month, when the House Ways and Means Committee originally OK’d the proposed language.
“It’s an incredible feeling to come back a year later and say, ‘We talked about it, we expressed solidarity, and it actually happened.’ And there are diaper banks who are watching right now who are so excited for this.”
Babies use more than 2,700 diapers per year, according to numbers from Investopedia. Disposable diapers can cost new parents nearly $100 per month.
Other items for newborns are already tax-free, including baby food, formulas and teething lotion.