Teachers often spend their own money on classroom supplies. Currently, they can be repaid up to $250 of that through a federal tax deduction. But, that’s now up for debate in Congress. The Senate GOP tax plan would double the deduction to $500, but the House plan cuts it all together.
Kathy Vetter, president of the Wyoming Education Association, said the deduction is an important vote of support for teachers.
“Teachers around the nation, and certainly here in Wyoming, spend a considerable amount of money out of their own pocket to ensure that our students have all of the supplies they need,” said Vetter. “I know personally in my 30 years of teaching, I always spent over $1,000 every year just buying things that students didn’t have, or didn’t have the money to buy themselves.”
There’s a lot to be ironed out before any proposed legislation makes its way to President Trump’s desk. The House and Senate still need to reconcile their bills, and that makes the future of things, like the educator expense deduction, uncertain. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi serves on the Finance Committee, and voted for the Senate version of the bill. Enzi’s office said he’s in favor of reform, and is looking at the entirety of the plan rather than the priorities of specific groups.
Vetter said policy changes will not stop teachers from spending their own money.
“I would guess that most educators spend significantly more than that $250 on things for their students in their classrooms.” Vetter added the deduction is, “just a nice way of saying thank you for people who have chosen to go into the profession that educates our future generations.”
Vetter acknowledged this is just one piece of a complicated tax plan, but she hopes the needs of teachers don’t get overlooked.