Reichert, Tanner, Introduce Teacher Tax Relief Act
Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) and Congressman John Tanner (TN-08) today introduced H.R. 3758, the Teacher Tax Relief Act, a proposal that would both increase and make permanent the maximum tax deduction available for teachers purchasing classroom supplies -- while expanding the deduction to include expenses associated with qualified professional development pursuits.
"Our teachers accept a serious responsibility -- educating our children and helping them develop into successful citizens so they can become the leaders of tomorrow," Reichert said. "School districts across the country are dealing with budget cuts, and our teachers are left to pick up the slack, paying for basic supplies such as paper, pencils, glue, and scissors, out of their own pockets. They've stepped up to the plate because they're committed to providing students the best education possible. It is important -- especially in these difficult economic times -- to stand with our teachers, demonstrating our commitment to them by expanding this tax relief to encourage continuing education pursuits and removing any uncertainty by making it permanent."
"Educators have the important responsibility of helping our young people prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead," Congressman Tanner said. "We must ensure they have the resources to help our students be successful and that they have opportunities to continue their own professional development. We are proud to work toward the permanent deduction of instructors' out-of-pocket costs so they will not be penalized for doing all they can to continue providing quality education for the next generation of our nation's leaders."
Specifically this legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code to increase and make permanent the maximum deduction allowed from $250 to $500 and expanding it to include qualified professional development expenses.
The classroom expense deduction available for teachers is set to expire on December 31, 2009. This has created unnecessary uncertainty for teachers throughout the country, who daily are footing the bill for basic classroom supplies.
The National School Supply and Equipment Association found that for the 2005-2006 school year, educators spent out of their own pockets an average of $826 for supplies and $926 for instructional materials -- for a total of $1,752. Additionally, a National Education Association report, Status of the American Public School Teacher 2000-2001, revealed that teachers spent an average of $443 per year on classroom supplies.
Additionally, teacher quality is critical to maximize student achievement, as highly qualified teachers will enable students to meet high standards. Continued professional development is one vital way that teachers keep their skills and knowledge current, and best equip themselves to prepare students for college and the challenges of the 21st Century global workplace. Expanding the tax deduction to cover qualified continuing education pursuits further assures the success of our teachers and our children.