The ‘Pink Tax’ bill – legislation intended to ban businesses from pricing items or services differently based on the gender of a given customer – is dead this year, according to proponents of the bill.
Sen. Derek Slap, D-West Hartford, who was among the legislators who testified in favor of the bill during the initial public hearing, said Monday that a lot of good bills die during a short session. The General Law Committee, which is where the Pink Tax bill is now, has until March 30 to vote on the bill.
“There are other things the committee is dealing with that are controversial,” Slap said.
Senate Bill 189, which was sponsored by Reps. Anne M. Hughes, Michael A. Winkler, and Susan M. Johnson, would make it a “discriminatory practice for a business to charge different prices for substantially similar goods or services if the difference is due to sex or gender identity or expression.”
During the public hearing on March 4, Tanya Hughes and Cheryl Sharp of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities testified in support of the bill.
Tanya Hughes said that many items like shaving razors, scooters, or pens cost more simply because they are pink and marketed to women.
“On average, the ‘pink tax’ costs women more than $1,000 per year,” Hughes said. “The state of Connecticut has very progressive civil rights laws and the legislation that Senator Slap is willing to pen will join the plethora of civil rights legislation that have been enacted to protect the citizens of the state of Connecticut.”
A 2010 Consumer Reports study on pricing practices found that women often paid more for the same products. The same trend correlates to services.
In a CBS News report in 2016, both male and female reporters visited dry cleaners to have the same items cleaned, and they saw that the women were charged at least twice as much as what the men were charged in half of those businesses. Similarly, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that car repairs and mechanics routinely charged women more than men.
Slap said that it usually takes a few years to get a concept raised and signed into law, so it’s not unusual that this bill was killed. This legislation is not the first of its kind, however, as similar legislation has been passed in California and New York state.
“Women in this state have been waiting a long time for protection in pricing from businesses,” Slap said.
The bill will be proposed again next session, and Slap said he plans to introduce it.
“We’ll be back and stronger and even more mobilized,” he said.