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Letter to Representatives Reichert and Tanner Supporting their Teacher Tax Relief Act

November 04, 2009

Dear Representatives Reichert and Tanner:

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).  We strongly support this legislation, which would increase, expand, and make permanent the tax deduction for educators’ out-of-pocket classroom supply expenses.  

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.  For example, during the 2005-2006 school year, educators’ out-of-pocket expenses totaled nearly $2,000 – $826 for classroom supplies and $926 for instructional materials on average, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association.

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. 

NEA also strongly supports your proposal to extend the tax deduction to cover out-of-pocket professional development expenses.  Teacher quality is the single most critical factor in maximizing student achievement.  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.

We thank you for your leadership in introducing this important legislation and look forward to continuing to work with you to support our nation’s educators.


Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy