Nonprofit applauds end of diaper, feminine hygiene product taxes amid rising inflation, cost of living in Summit County
On Wednesday, Aug. 10, a law went into effect in Colorado that ended the state sales and use tax on feminine hygiene products and diapers.
A former Summit County local of 15 years, Sarya Alfaro, who recently had to move out of the county for financial reasons, said that the law would have helped her family make ends meet had it gone into effect sooner.
Alfaro made the choice to move out of the county in 2021 when she realized she could no longer afford to live in such a small apartment with such a high price. She and her husband, Edwin Oliver Guevara, left in December to move into a larger — and more affordable — home in Kremmling.
Alfaro came to the county in 2008, moving into a one-bedroom apartment in Dillon Valley East that was priced at $800 per month. At that time, to put dinner on the table for her whole family, it only cost around $50, she said.
Eventually, Alfaro said she had to find a bigger home since her small family had grown. She welcomed into the world two baby girls who are now 8 and 7 years old. She also has two older children, a son and a daughter, who are now ages 14 and 16, respectively.
So in 2015, her family transitioned to a two-bedroom apartment at the Dillon Marina priced at $2,000 a month.
On top of the increased rent, Alfaro quickly discovered that one of her girls was allergic to a majority of the affordable diaper brands. Alfaro found herself buying the most expensive brand just to keep her baby from breaking out in a rash.
During that time, Alfaro said, she shelled out between $50 to $70 for diapers and wipes every two weeks.
Brianne Snow, the executive director of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, said families, even ones who are struggling to meet basic needs, have no choice but to buy sanitary products. She said to tax something so important — and at times “so out of reach” — is “heartbreaking.”
“I feel we’re throwing our money in the trash,” Alfaro said through an interpreter. “But in the end, you have to do it, and you wish that it didn’t cost so much.”
Though taxes may seem small, Snow said, the money adds up for working families. Alfaro said even if it saved her $5, that’s money she could have used on baby formula or could have put into a fund for emergencies.
Alfaro began to look for bigger accommodations as her children grew, but she said every three-bedroom home available at the time cost between $5,000 and $7,000 a month. Alfaro said her and her husband’s monthly income is between $5,000 to $6,000.
Even though her children aren’t in diapers anymore, Alfaro said with three daughters in the house, she will have to start buying triple the amount of tampons and pads at some point in the future.
And now, they are making a 45-minute drive back and forth to Dillon from Kremmling multiple times a week, which means she’s spending an immense amount of money on gas to attend her job and keep her children in the Summit School District.
Alfaro has worked at the Dillon Food Market since March, and her four children attend both Dillon Valley and Summit High School. She said the transition has been hard for them.
She also added, whereas dinner used to cost $50, the price has doubled, requiring at least $100 to $150 at the grocery to put food on the table.
Alfaro said Summit County is expensive, and it’s getting more expensive all the time.
The Dillon Food Market, run by the family center, offers sanitary products for families for free. More information can be found on the family center’s website, at SummitFIRC.org.
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