U.S. Reps. John Tanner (D-TN) and Dave Reichert (R-WA)
announced that the National Education Association (NEA) endorsed their Teacher Tax Relief Act (H.R. 3758). The bill would increase and make permanent the maximum tax deduction available for educators who purchase classroom supplies out-of-pocket or who pursue professional development.
“We are proud to work with educators to provide the classroom resources and continuing-education opportunities that can help our young people be successful in school and after graduation,” Congressman Tanner said. “Our teachers play a crucial role in our communities and in our economic security, and this is another way we can express our appreciation and support.
Diane Shust, NEA’s Director of Government Relations, and Randall Moody, NEA’s Manager of Federal Advocacy, wrote to Congressmen Tanner and Reichert, in part:
On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to thank you for your leadership in introducing the Teacher Tax Relief Act (H.R 3758). …The educator tax deduction helps recognize the financial sacrifices made by teachers and paraprofessionals, who often reach into their own pockets to purchase classroom supplies such as books, pencils, paper, and art supplies. …By increasing the current deduction and making it permanent, your legislation will make a real difference for many educators, who often must sacrifice other personal needs in order to pay for classroom supplies. Ongoing professional development is essential to ensure that educators stay up-to-date on the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. H.R. 3758 will make a critical difference in helping educators access quality training.
“I’m pleased to accept the NEA’s endorsement of this bill
,” Congressman Reichert said. “Today, school districts across the country are dealing with budget cuts, and our teachers are left to pick up the slack. This legislation would help ease the burden for those educators who accept the responsibility to guide our children’s education and purchase needed classroom supplies out of their own pockets. I’m committed to standing with our teachers by increasing and expanding this tax relief, and I thank the NEA for its vital support
The classroom expense deduction available for teachers is set to expire on December 31, 2009. This has created uncertainty for teachers throughout the country, who foot the bill daily 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.
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to increase the maximum allowed deduction from $250 to $500, make the deduction permanent and expand it to include professional development expenses. Continued professional development helps teachers keep their skills and knowledge current and equips them to prepare students for college and the workplace. Congressman Tanner has also supported similar proposals in the past.
Tanner represents the 8th Congressional District in West and Middle Tennessee. Co-founder of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, Tanner serves on the Ways and Means Committee, where he chairs the Social Security Subcommittee, and on the Foreign Affairs Committee. A veteran of the U.S. Navy and the Tennessee Army National Guard, Tanner chairs the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and is serving as NATO PA President.