- During Teacher Appreciation Week, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) and 35 cosponsors put forth the Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act, which would index the educator tax deduction to inflation and increase it from $250 to $500.
- In a release, Brown said that the bill acknowledges the burden educators bear in spending hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets annually for school supplies amid limited budgets and low pay, calling it a "thank you" for those efforts.
- The release also cites survey data from education publisher Scholastic showing that teachers spend an average of $530 out-of-pocket for classroom or student use, principals spend an average of $683, and those in high-poverty schools spent around 40% more than their peers.
The teacher tax deduction was a point of contention in the battle over last year's tax bill. At one point late last year, it was eyed for elimination by the House, while the Senate had at one point proposed doubling it. The above-the-line deduction was ultimately preserved at a limit of $250 for out-of-pocket costs on materials like books, computer equipment and software, but when considered alongside the Scholastic data above, it doesn't nearly cover the average cost of those expenses.
Brown's proposal to increase the deduction and tie it to inflation comes amid a recent spate of teacher demonstrations in states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma and North Carolina over pay and benefits. That timing could also see the proposal benefit from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seeking political capital ahead of what are sure to be contentious elections in the fall.
A victory on that front would provide some welcome relief for educators' pockets and is perhaps more likely now than a few months ago, and while it won't resolve the pay and benefits concerns entirely, administrators can continue helping to advocate on these issues to policymakers to affect change as much as possible.