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Letter to the House of Representatives in support of the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007

October 31, 2007

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for provisions in the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007 that would extend the tax deduction for educators' out-of-pocket classroom supply expenses and the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) school modernization program. 

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 for supplies and an additional $926 for instructional materials, for a total of $1,752.

Unfortunately, the educator tax deduction will expire at the end of the 2007 tax year. Unless Congress acts soon, educators will no longer be able to claim their out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies.  

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 QZAB program will also expire at the end of the year. An extension is critical to helping ensure great public schools for every child. 

We thank the Committee for your work on these critical issues.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy