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Letter to the House on the Teacher Tax Relief Act of 2014

November 18, 2014

Dear Representative: 

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA), and the students they serve, we urge you to support and cosponsor the Teacher Tax Relief Act of 2014 (H.R. 5504) introduced by Representatives Reichert (R-WA), McDermott (D-WA), Schock (R-IL), Kind (D-WI), Tiberi (R-OH), and Pascrell (D-NJ). This bipartisan legislation would extend and make permanent the educator tax deduction for qualified expenses and professional development, as well as include an inflationary adjustment to the deduction amount, for eligible educators. 

The $250 a year educator tax deduction helps recognize the financial sacrifices made by educators who often reach into their own pockets to purchase classroom supplies such as books, pencils, paper, and art supplies for their students.  For example, during the 2012-2013 school year, public school teachers spent approximately $1.6 billion of their own money on classroom supplies, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA). A study by the NSSEA, an organization that represents retailers of classroom supplies, also found that 99.5 percent of all public school teachers spent some amount of out of pocket money for supplies for their students and classrooms.  

By including an inflationary adjustment to the educator tax deduction and making it permanent, this legislation will make a real difference for many educators, who often must sacrifice other personal needs to pay for classroom supplies. 

NEA also strongly supports the inclusion in the tax deduction to cover out-of-pocket professional development expenses. Teacher quality is a 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. 5504 will make a critical difference in helping educators access quality training. 

To be able to inspire children’s natural curiosity, imagination, and instill a love of learning every educator must have the resources and support they need, H.R. 5504 recognizes this crucial fact. We urge you to support and cosponsor this bipartisan bill in recognition of the sacrifices educators make on behalf of their students. We look forward to continuing to work with you to support our nation’s students and public schools. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations