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Letter to Senators Collins and Warner supporting their educator tax credit proposal

June 27, 2007

Dear Senators Collins and Warner:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our strong support for your proposal to create a tax credit for educators' classroom supply and professional development expenses. We thank you for your continued leadership and advocacy on this important issue. 

As you know, educators across the country make considerable financial sacrifices as they reach into their own pockets to purchase classroom supplies. Studies show that teachers 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.

By creating a tax credit, your legislation would reduce the amount of taxes paid by a teacher by 50 percent for each dollar he or she spends on school supplies. Thus, a teacher taking the maximum credit of $300 would save $150 in taxes, regardless of his or her tax bracket. As a result, your bill 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 cover out-of-pocket professional development expenses under the tax credit. 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. Your bill will make a critical difference in helping educators access quality training.

We thank you again for your work on this important legislation and look forward to continuing to work with you to support our nation's educators.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy