U.S. Representatives Shelley Berkley (NV-01) and Dave Reichert (WA-08) today introduced H.R. 1738, the Teacher Tax Relief Act, a proposal that would increase and make permanent the tax deduction available for teachers purchasing classroom supplies with their personal income and expand the deduction to include expenses associated with professional development pursuits.
"In my home town of Las Vegas, Clark County School District teachers are seeing school resources shrink even as their classroom needs continue to grow," Berkley said. "These dedicated teachers often make up for shortfalls in the classroom by selflessly opening their own wallets to provide important learning materials. Our legislation will allow hard-working teachers in Nevada and others like them all across the nation to receive a tax incentive to help cover the cost of these expenditures. This bill also expands tax deductions to cover professional development so teachers can continue to hone their skills as educators. America's teachers deserve the financial stability and peace of mind this bill would provide as much as our children deserve educators who teach to the best of their abilities and are compensated fairly for their hard work and dedication."
"Our teachers have nobly accepted the serious responsibility to educate our children and help them develop into successful, productive citizens," Reichert said. "In these difficult economic times, school districts across the country are dealing with deep budget cuts and our teachers are doing what they can to pick up the slack. They're paying for basic supplies such as paper, pencils, and scissors out of their own pockets - stepping up because they're committed to providing students the best education possible. It's critical that we stand alongside our teachers and demonstrate our continued commitment to their efforts by extending this common sense tax relief to encourage continuing education pursuits and remove any future uncertainty by making this deduction permanent."
"This important legislation from Rep. Reichert and Rep. Berkley recognizes the financial sacrifices made by teachers and paraprofessionals, who are spending more out of their own funds each year to supply their classrooms with essential items such as paper, pencils, and books," said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. "With states and local communities facing budget cuts, schools are getting squeezed and teachers are forced to do more with less. This bill will make a real difference for thousands of educators whose commitment to provide the best resources for their students often means digging deep into their wallets to purchase materials."
Specifically, the Reichert/Berkley legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code to increase and make permanent the maximum deduction allowed from $250 to $500 and would expand it to include qualified professional development expenses. The measure is referred to the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee on which both Members serve.