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Public Statements

This Week In Washington- May 11, 2009


Location: Washington, DC

This Week In Washington

As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, I am proud to have introduced HR 2329 before the U.S. House of Representatives.
This bill is an extension of the educator expense deduction which allows elementary and secondary education teachers to claim an above-the-line tax deduction for expenses they incur to provide books, supplies, equipment or other materials for their classrooms. The bill provides a two-year extension through 2011 to the deduction.
Without this expansion, the deductions would not be available for this year. I chose this bill to be my first stand-alone bill because I believe our teachers are deserving of some tax relief and some recognition of their sacrifices.
As the son of a teacher and as a teacher myself, I've seen firsthand how selfless so many teachers are and how they give of themselves to their schools and to their students. We should never forget how our teachers inspire, mold and motivate our children. The students in their hands are the future of this great country.
HR 2329 is the least we can do, especially in this economy. So many of the teachers I've known spend a great deal of their own money to make sure their students are prepared in the classroom. They buy supplies for the classroom and purchase books out of their own pocket to enhance their students' learning experience. This bill extends the little bit of relief they get for all their hard work and dedication.
Teachers know they will never get rich teaching elementary, middle school or high school. They choose to teach because of a great love for their students and the opportunity to affect a child's future in a positive way. It is why my mother taught, and it is why I chose to become a teacher when I changed careers. We must do more to ensure our teachers are taken care of, the way they take care of our children.
The American Reinvestment and Recover Act provided millions in Title 1 and IDEA funds for our district, but it is not nearly enough. The Stimulus package was a good start. It helped bring funds home to the district, and that is a major reason why I voted for it, but it cannot stop there.
I am all too aware of the state's budget shortfalls and how that will affect our schools. Education funding has not escaped the shortages in this economic climate, and all school systems are facing budget crises. I will do all I can at the Federal level to bring resources home to help soften the blow. All children deserve a good public education, and it is our duty to provide it for them as well as a wise investment.
While I am fighting for our district and our school systems in Washington, I implore you to spend some time thanking those teachers who've impacted your own life or that of your children's.
Speaking as a teacher, a simple thank you can mean the world.

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