Open Letter: Don't tax teachers, cops, firefighters (and other union members) to pay for tax giveaways to big corporations

U.S. Congress

We knew the Republican tax plan would be bad, but we didn’t know it would be this bad. Trump and the GOP leadership are making teachers, cops and firefighters—and other union members—pay for the tax giveaways to the rich.

Sponsored by
Washington, DC

To: U.S. Congress
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned, are America’s educators, parents and community members. Year after year, educators dig into our own pockets to pay for classroom materials for our students. Sometimes this is a set of paintbrushes for our classroom; sometimes it is a special software program we know will help a student succeed; and sometimes it is books, pencils, calculators or crayons.

This practice of using our own money to pay for classroom supplies is nearly universal among educators. A 2013 survey by the school supplies industry found that 99.5 percent of public school teachers paid at least some classroom expenses with their own money—an average of $945 per teacher in the preceding school year. This is why the federal tax code has allowed us to deduct unreimbursed classroom spending up to $250.

And now the tax bill being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives would eliminate this deduction.

We don’t take money from our own paychecks to buys these materials because we are wealthy. We do it because we care and we want to see our students have what they need to succeed, whether it’s binders to stay organized or magnifying glasses for budding scientists. This deduction is a simple recognition that the money we spend benefits our students and communities.

We urge Congress to maintain the $250 educator expense deduction and, if the deduction is not maintained, to reject the tax proposal in the House of Representatives.