Indiana House Republicans rejected an attempt to exempt breastfeeding equipment from the state sales tax.
Rep. Karlee Macer (D-Indianapolis) offered the amendment on the House floor.
"Breast milk is food. It's food and Indiana law already exempts sales tax of food and food ingredients," Macer says. "And it would just be common sense for us to do what's right and help newborns and families in the state of Indiana."
Fifty-one House Republicans voted against creating the exemption, while 10 – and all Democrats – voted for it. Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says the idea wasn’t vetted through his committee, Ways and Means, and that he worries about shrinking the sales tax base.
“I’m sure we could all think of things that might be important to our members, to our family, to our situation that we’d like to exempt from the sales tax,” Brown says.
Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) pointed out that the underlying bill creates a sales tax exemption for RVs.
“What is it? We have time for RV dealers but we don’t have time for mothers?” DeLaney says.
A fiscal analysis estimates exempting breast pumps from sales tax would cost the state, at most, about $1.8 million a year. But Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) says that doesn't tell the whole story.
"If we're having healthier babies ... healthier people means that they're saving money and we're saving money as a state," Pryor says.
The RV sales tax exemption will cost the state $1.9 million a year.