Teachers are very intelligent, well educated, compassionate and driven individuals who care deeply about their students and their success. They are also willing to make up the difference—out of their own pocket—to make sure their classrooms are the most ideal learning environment they can possibly create for their students. To that end, they often will do the following:
- Purchase books for a classroom library…books that a student may take home to read or, if time permits in the classroom, can sit quietly and read
- Purchase extra materials to make sure their bulletin boards are as welcoming and attractive and informative as they can be
- If paper is in short supply, reams of paper, especially colored paper, may be purchased
- Teachers have even been known to provide warm winter coats for students, perhaps money for a lunch, or school supplies the student is unable to obtain
These are examples…and there are many more…of the types of expenses teachers may incur as they go about their work in the classrooms of this country. A survey of Naperville District 203 students conducted by the NUEA found that, on average, teachers were spending approximately $1500 a year on their classroom needs. The $250 deduction that has been available to them is appreciated, but it does not come close to recognizing the actual dollars spent. Now, even that is on the chopping block!
Not only does this new tax proposal gut the small deduction for classroom supplies that teachers have appreciated, it also goes after our college students! Student loan debt is often high interest debt, coming in at 7% or better on private loans. The current tax law allows students to deduct up to $2500 a year of student loan interest from their taxes. This deduction is now scheduled to be erased with this new tax plan! So, not only is student loan debt at a staggering $1.1 trillion in this country, we’re going to make it even harder for our young people to pay it back and get on with their lives! Shame on Republicans for supporting such a measure!
And, speaking of education one more time, how about the provisions in the current tax code that deal with employer provided tuition assistance? Right now, if an employer agrees to reimburse an employee for expenses related to obtaining an additional degree or certificate, it is a tax free benefit of up to $5,250 a year. With the new tax plan proposal, that benefit will be considered taxable income to the employee. Another cheap and short sighted move on the part of Republicans! An educated workforce is absolutely essential for our economy to thrive: this provision now penalizes our employees who are just seeking to do their job better!
Let’s see what happens in the next few weeks to the Trump Tax Scam. Hopefully, enough resistance will convince our Senators that there is no point in even bringing it forward for a vote!