Michigan GOP governor candidate tries to 'teach' on tampon tax — but fails at the math


'I don't know if I'm wrong. Please feel free to message me or comment and say, Garrett, you're way off,' GOP candidate Garrett Soldano said as he criticized Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for getting rid of the tax on feminine hygiene products.

A Republican gubernatorial candidate in Michigan took umbrage with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's celebration of her state getting rid of the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, falsely saying that Whitmer overestimated how much money it would save menstruating people over a lifetime.

Last week, the Michigan Legislature repealed the state's 6% sales tax on feminine hygiene products, which has come to be known as the "tampon tax." Upon signing the bill, Whitmer said that the move will save families "from paying taxes on up to $4,800 of spending over the course of a lifetime."

But Garrett Soldano, a chiropractor-turned-conservative activist who is one of a number of GOP candidates hoping to run against Whitmer next fall, criticized the Democratic governor, claiming her math was wrong.

In fact, it was Soldano's math — as well as his interpretation of what Whitmer said — that were way off.

In a Facebook live video recorded on Monday, Soldano claimed that Whitmer said the repeal of the so-called tampon tax would save women $4,800 over the course of their lifetime.

"Now, by all means, I am not an expert on women's hygiene. Not. Don't claim to be," Soldano said in the video. "I had to analyze some of the things that she said, and I don't know if I'm wrong. Please feel free to message me or comment and say, Garrett, you're way off," he added, before going on to say, "So I don't know where she got the $4,800."

He then went on to perform his calculations, estimating that if someone used 72 Playtex Sport tampons a month, which he said would cost $13.42, and then buy that monthly for 40 years, the length of time he estimated people menstruate, the repeal of the 6% tax on feminine hygiene products would save just $387.64 over a lifetime.

Soldano, however, clearly did not hear what Whitmer said.

She said that menstruating people spend roughly $4,800 on feminine hygiene products in a lifetime — not that the tampon tax repeal would save them $4,800.

What's more, if you use Soldano's math ($13.42 per month for 40 years), a person would spend $6,441.60 over a lifetime — far more than Whitmer estimated.

Ultimately, the repeal of the tampon tax passed with broad bipartisan support in Michigan, so it's unclear why the issue has become a target for Soldano.

According to Period Equity, a group that is working to get the tampon tax repealed across the country in order to make feminine hygiene products accessible to everyone, feminine hygiene products aren't taxed in 23 states. That number has grown in recent years thanks to activists, with Michigan the latest state to repeal the tax.

Soldano is one of 10 GOP candidates looking to take on Whitmer in November 2022, according to Ballotpedia. She is one of the GOP's top targets, as she leads a state President Joe Biden carried by 3 points in 2020.

Soldano's campaign has been focused on attacking Whitmer's COVID-19 response, and he is currently running a campaign ad touting his activism to end COVID-19 mitigation efforts in the state. Soldano was permanently banned from YouTube for spreading COVID-19 misinformation, according to the Detroit News.

The Detroit News also reported that Soldano has raised the second-highest amount of money of the GOP contenders in the contest, behind former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, whom the Detroit News named as the front-runner.

The Cook Political Report rates the Michigan governor's race a "Leans Democratic" contest.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.