GOP Tax Bills Split Over Teacher Classroom Supplies Deduction

November 27, 2017 07:14 PM

Some teachers in Minnesota are upset with a proposal to do away with the tax benefit they receive for buying their own classroom supplies.

Congressional House Republicans want to cut the deduction as part of their plan to simplify the tax code and ease the overall burden on taxpayers.


It's not a dollar-for-dollar credit, but teachers currently can get money back through a deduction that reduces taxable income. Experts say teachers generally get between $40 and $100 back.

RELATED: Trump, Senate Republicans Scramble to Change Tax Plan

"This is a small token of appreciation for the ongoing out-of-pocket expenses teachers have and that they are giving to their students," said Education Minnesota President Denise Specht.

Education Minnesota, the state's teachers union, says that if the House tax bill is approved, teachers would lose that deduction.

A Scholastic survey shows teachers spend on average $530 of their own money on items for their classroom, and while that used to be pencils and folders, Specht says that's changed.

"Nowadays teachers are spending their own money on things like socks, granola bars, winter coats — all for their students, so the needs of students are getting greater," she said.

Voters, outside enjoying a near 60-degree day in St. Paul, shared their opinions.

"When I was an executive in nonprofit, I could get deductions for my business expenses, so why can't teachers get deductions for their business expenses?" one man said.

RELATED: House OKs GOP Tax Bill in Trump Win; Senate Fate Less Clear

"I think teachers should get reimbursed," added one mom. "I think what they do is not fully appreciated."

Added a prospective teacher: "I'm going into this field because I believe in helping people, and that's what I am passionate about."

The Senate's version of the tax bill would not eliminate the teacher deduction; it fact, the benefit could actually double.

Education Minnesota plans to protest this potential change, and others, outside Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen's office on Wednesday afternoon.


Jessica Miles

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