US Department of Education / Flickr IMG81...
US Department of Education / Flickr

The Republican tax plan takes aim at working people in a lot of petty little ways. Like this one: teachers currently get to deduct some of the classroom supplies they buy for their students. Republicans want to take that deduction away:

A deduction of up to $250 for classroom supplies purchased by teachers out-of-pocket was made “permanent” by Congress in 2015. Not so permanent, as it turns out: The tax bill would eliminate the deduction, which can be taken even by teachers who don’t itemize. This tax break has been a help to educators and students as financially-strapped school districts cut back. A national survey last year found that teachers spend an average of $530 a year on classroom supplies. In high-poverty districts, the figure is $672. Some teachers report that they spend the money on supplies as mundane as pencils.

According to a survey by, 

These funds not only cover typical staples such as copier paper or colored pencils, but also go toward clothing and personal hygiene necessities for students who need them. In fact, two-thirds of all classroom supplies are purchased by teachers. And 91 percent of teachers—many of whom receive modest pay to begin with—purchase basic supplies for students whose families cannot afford them. All of these expenditures can add up to more than $1 billion every year out of educators’ own pockets.

This is a direct result of policy—the kind of policy Republicans push:

Per-student funding for public education has dropped in recent years. More than 30 states spent less money on students in 2014 than they did before the Great Recession—in some cases, at least 10 percent less. 

That means shortages of school supplies and teachers filling the gaps with their too-low pay. And, if the Republican plan passes, they won’t get to deduct any of those expenses.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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