Before tax overhaul vote, MacArthur seeks tweak for teachers
WASHINGTON D.C. - Agreements under the Capitol dome practically assure a full Congressional vote on federal tax code changes by next week, but there are still fine points in play. Shore Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-3) wants one of them to help teachers.
The second-term Republican implored Congress to not only retain the $250 educator expense deduction, but also to double it to $500.
The item allows educators to claim expenses for classroom supplies as a deduction.
MacArthur, buoyed by the success of re-inserting property tax deductions up to $10,000, said that he gained respect for the economic sacrifices that educators abide through the experiences of two grandparents who were career educators and administrators, and his mother's years as a librarian.
Co-signing with him are Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Mike Bost of Illinois, Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, Kay Granger and Blake Farenthold of Texas, and Luke Messer of Indiana.
In a similar missive to House and Senate leaders Tuesday, MacArthur, along with Representatives David Joyce of Ohio and Rod Blum of Iowa, urged restoration of the medical expense deduction, which he said affects about 140,000 of his constituents, and some 9,000,000 nationwide. He said, in part:
"...this deduction can represent a meaningful source of relief during the uncertainty and difficulty that medical conditions can bring. Some of the unfortunate outcomes of Obamacare have been higher medical costs, higher insurance premiums, higher deductibles, higher copays - these costs hit families hard, especially seniors."
The full text of today's message:
In the wake of the passage of historic, comprehensive tax reform, we write to you in order to highlight one issue that we believe should be addressed in the conference process. As supporters of H.R. 1, we write to express our concerns about the provision within the bill that would eliminate the tax deduction for school supplies paid for by educators. This important tax provision supports teachers, enhances students’ learning experiences, and improves schools across our country. We strongly support the Senate’s plan for expanding the educator expense deduction in support of our nation’s hard working teachers.
Our nation’s teachers not only support America’s bright young minds with their time and care, they are also asked to subsidize our children’s education by purchasing supplies and materials for the classroom that are not reimbursed by their school. Virtually all teachers use some amount of their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms, and the average teacher spends $485 per year. This out-of-pocket cost is one that they bear out of dedication and love for their students.
Under current law, educators can receive a deduction of $250 per year for supplies they purchased for the benefit of their students. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as passed by the House, eliminated this provision. However, the Senate version of the tax reform bill included an expansion of the educator expense deduction, to $500 per year. While we value the goal of simplifying the tax code, certain specifically-targeted deductions have benefits that make them worthy of preservation. We believe that the educator expense deduction is one of these provisions whose benefits outweigh their financial cost. The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should include the Senate’s expansion of the educator expense deduction to $500 per year.
American teachers go above and beyond the call of duty for their students every single day, and the personal expenses they incur for classroom supplies are just one example of this. The tax code should reward their dedication and help them recoup at least some of that cost. As we complete the process of overhauling our nation’s tax code, we ask that you increase the crucial educator expense deduction."
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