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Teachers who buy classroom supplies with their own money cry foul on Republican tax plan

Nov 14, 2017 by

WASHINGTON — Teachers often have to spend their own money to provide students with books, pens and pencils, and currently can get a tax deduction of $250 for their expenses — but they would lose that break under Republican tax legislation.

Both House and Senate tax bills would end the deduction, and powerful teachers unions are mobilizing to fight the proposal.

“It’s a slap in the face to teachers to take it away. For teachers, it’s like ‘Are you kidding me? You’re coming after our $250?’” said Lisa Ochs, president of American Federation of Teachers-Kansas.

Later this week, her union is holding a school supply donation drive outside the Overland Park, Kan., office of Rep. Kevin Yoder, a vulnerable Republican seeking re-election.

In this file photo, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, left, joined by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the ranking member, and Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., offers his manager's amendment as the GOP tax bill debate enters the final stage on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 9, 2017.
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Similar efforts are underway around the country. The National Education Association, under the hashtag #outofmypocket, is asking teachers to share via social media pictures of the sticky notes, pens and scissors that they purchase for their students.

The push comes as Republicans are increasingly anxious to deliver President Donald Trump a rare legislative victory before the end of the year, while special interest groups seek furiously to protect their favorite breaks.

Senate Republicans on Monday began writing their tax bill, and the full House is expected later this week to vote on its own blueprint. Although the two versions are markedly different and will be reconciled by a special House and Senate committee, both call for scrapping the $250 tax deduction as lawmakers seek to simplify the tax code.

Republicans argue that the code will be easier to use and that most taxpayers will benefit from a doubling of the standard deduction.

Source: Teachers who buy classroom supplies with their own money cry foul on Republican tax plan | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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