Keeping retirement weird. The $250 teacher tax deduction.


The Republicans want to end the $250 teacher tax deduction.

The tax break was supposed to compensate us for the cost of teaching supplies teachers pay for out of their own pockets each year.

Well somebody has to pay for the reduction in corporate taxes in the GOP plan.

What a joke. It won’t be teachers’ tax deduction. That $250 tax deduction won’t even begin to cover it.

The $250 isn’t a dollar for dollar tax break like what the Illinois General Assembly recently gave rich private school donors.  If Ken Griffin gives a million dollars to the Catholic Church’s schools, he gets to take $750,000 of his tax bill.

A teacher can claim a $250 reduction in calculating their taxable earnings. It might not reduce their taxes at all.

I’m not sure which was more insulting. The amount of the deduction or taking it away. But since I’m not in the classroom anymore I’ll go with taking it away.

Here is my suggestion. Make an appointment with your congressman and take them to your neighborhood public school. Or a random neighborhood public school. Be sure to get permission from the front office and make an appointment with the teacher first. He or she is likely very busy for surprise visitors to show up.

Walk around the room. Bring a calculator if you must. Check out the plastic bins (they bought them) and the number of books in those bins (they bought them). The blocks in the corner. The posters on the wall. The materials in the choice corner. The teacher likely bought most or all of it.

Someone estimates the actual dollar amount teachers spend for their  classrooms out of pocket is $500 bucks. That is total bullshit. I worked in a relatively well-off school district and the parent teacher organization even gave me a small check each year for art supplies. I spent way more than that out of my own pocket. Over a thousand bucks I would estimate.

The truth is that teacher spending is a major subsidy to U.S. public school education.

Thank God for Costco.

Download our podcast, Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers #39. With Executive Director of Friends of the Parks Juanita Irizarry.

10 thoughts on “Keeping retirement weird. The $250 teacher tax deduction.

  1. thank you. taught SPED on the West Side. the school “gave” us an allowance of $100 a year… which was usually gone before the kids ever showed up.
    regularly spent over $1,000 a year out of pocket.

  2. This is so true – and yes, even in a relatively well-off school district. Teachers put in money and TIME for which there is no compensation except that they love working with students and sharing their successes!

  3. The wealthy need the money so that they can ‘create jobs’. Taking money away from teachers is a pittance for them. How disgusting is this tax bill. I spent an average of $1000 out of my pocket each year, as an elementary music teacher, when I was working in the States. I could barely survive on the crappy salaries that I made but I figured that I needed those supplies so that I could teach. The districts weren’t providing any money.

  4. Thank you for giving voice to my experience.

    It looks like tuition reimbursement will be added to our income and taxed in the proposed law.

  5. I’m in total agreement with you, Fred, and those who replied. $1,000 is about right per school year. My late,wonderful husband always supported my efforts and was able to help me obtain some needed supplies wholesale for my students. The rest came out of pocket with a little bit returned from the district.

  6. Did I inadvertently disconnect from your blog? I was trying to get rid of a different blog and may have clicked on your site. Didn’t receive the Nov. 5 posting which was a drawing of a teacher begging for supplies. HELP!!

  7. This just came out from the White House. It is a bunch of garbage that attempts to justify tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. Why would corporate bosses who are already making huge profits decide to bring back jobs and pay decent salaries if they get a tax break? How would cutting funding for Medicare and Medicaid help the poor or seniors? Whatever happened to caring about the deficit. Guess that only happens when the Democrats are in power.

    11:15 AM (5 minutes ago) From the White House:

    Saying “No” to a Broken Tax Code
    President Donald J. Trump stated, “We believe every-day Americans know better how to spend their own money than the federal bureaucracy, and we want to help them keep as much of that hard-earned money as we can.” Unfortunately, the current tax code hurts American job-creators, families, and businesses. Under President Trump’s tax plan, Americans will be treated fairly, keep more of their hard-earned money, and companies will be incentivized to bring jobs back to the United States.

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