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Letter to the Senate in support of CLOTURE on the tax extender package

June 09, 2008

Dear Senator:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to VOTE YES ON CLOTURE for the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049), scheduled for a floor debate this week. This bill includes important provisions that would extend the tax deduction for educators' out-of-pocket classroom supply expenses, the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) school modernization program, and the Child Tax Credit. Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.

The educator tax deduction helps recognize the financial sacrifices made by teachers and paraprofessionals. Studies show that educators spend more of their own funds each year to supply their classrooms, including purchasing essential items such as pencils, glue, scissors, and facial tissues. For example, NEA's 2003 report Status of the American Public School Teacher, 2000-2001 found that teachers spent an average of $443 a year on classroom supplies. More recently, the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that in 2005-2006, educators spent out of their own pockets an average of $826.00 for supplies and an additional $926 for instructional materials, for a total of $1,752.

The QZAB program has proven to be an efficient and cost-effective way to help disadvantaged communities address pressing renovation and repair needs. QZABs assist school districts in rural and urban communities by providing a financing mechanism to renovate buildings and invest in equipment and technology. Investors receive a federal tax credit equal to the amount of interest payable on the bonds, thereby relieving local taxpayers and municipalities of the interest burden.

The Child Tax Credit provisions would extend the credit to working families who don't earn enough to qualify for the current credit. Many of these are young families, struggling to balance child care and work and who are scraping together a living, while trying simultaneously to make time for their young children.

Again, we urge your support for cloture on this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocac