Teacher tax deduction eliminated in GOP tax plans

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The loss of a $250 tax deduction for school teachers in the Republican tax cut plans has teachers, their unions and Democratic political leaders crying foul.

Teachers can deduct up to $250 from their taxable income for spending their own money on school supplies for your kids. The Republican tax cut plans eliminate this benefit.

Almost all teachers spend money out of their own pocket for school supplies and the federal government has been allowing them to take a small tax write off for it. The association that represents and promotes retailers that sell school supplies says that research shows that almost all teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies for the kids.

Most spend hundreds of their own money for school supplies every year.

Related Content: Blumenthal & Murphy: GOP tax cut plan a ‘train wreck’ for Connecticut

46-year-old John Sanchez has spent his entire career teaching fourth grade at the West Middle School in Hartford and says his biggest expense is for books.

“Whether they’re Captain Underpants or Amulet, they just devour the books. They ask to repeatedly read those,” he explained.

But that’s not all. Teacher-purchased supplies even include bottles of glue for projects.

“Pencils, Ziploc bags to organize things, and some incentives for the students. I buy prizes for the students,” Sanchez said.

Related Coverage: What Senate Republicans are proposing in their tax plan

Theresa McKeown is another veteran teacher that joined Senator Richard Blumenthal on Monday decrying the potential loss of the $250 dollar teacher deduction, especially after the new state budget asks them to increase teacher pension payments.

“Stop picking on us,” said McKeown. She added, “You’re hurting the students.”

Sen. Blumenthal said, “The message from eliminating this deduction is, ‘we don’t care about public educators or public education,’ and that fits with the mantra of this administration.”

This is a perfect example of why federal tax reform is so difficult. For every deduction, there is a constituent group that will fight to keep it.

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