Brown Discusses Efforts To Protect Teachers From Dipping Into Their Own Paychecks For Classroom Expenses

Brown Introducing Legislation to Increase Educator Tax Deductions for Out-Of-Pocket Classroom Expenses

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call to discuss his efforts to quadruple the amount educators can deduct from their taxes for out-of-pocket classroom expenses. Brown and Rep. Anthony Brown (MD-04) introduced the Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act of 2022 this week.

The current deduction for teachers is $250 – far less than most teachers spend each year out of their own pocket on classroom supplies. The legislation would increase that to $1,000 and continue to index it to inflation.

“Teachers work as hard as anyone – often harder – to support our students, yet they aren’t paid nearly the salaries and benefits they deserve, and they often spend hundreds of dollars of their hard-earned money on supplies for their classrooms,” said Sen. Brown. “Ohio educators shouldn’t have to dip into their too-small paychecks simply to do their jobs. We need to allow teachers to deduct more of those costs from their taxes, so they can focus on educating the next generation of Americans.”

Educators showed once again how indispensable they are to our communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Department of Education, 94 percent of public-school teachers reportedly paid for classroom supplies without reimbursement, with nearly 1 in 10 reportedly spending more than $1,000 each year. Teachers are paid far too little — on average 20 percent less than similarly-skilled professionals – and are also too often asked to cover classroom expenses.

“If the tax deduction amount is raised to $1,000 for a teacher to use in the classroom, it is going back to the taxpayer, in a sense,” said Jill Wagner, an English teacher for Independence Local Schools. “Teachers are instinctually creative, and the extra money will be used to be more inventive as to how to positively influence and support students and their school community. Teachers do NOT enter the profession to get financially rich. We do not get financial perks. We enter the profession to help children learn to the best of their abilities, and out-of-pocket expenses to make that happen are costing us more every year.”

State spending on education has plummeted in recent decades. Increasing this deduction recognizes the personal sacrifices so many educators make to ensure our children have the tools to learn.

“With kids back in the classrooms, educators are still being asked to cover basic classroom expenses out-of-pocket. Educators in our communities always put our children first and it’s long past time to show our gratitude by expanding this deduction,” said Congressman Brown. “As we return to the classroom, increasing teacher pay and education budgets as well as ensuring educators and students have the tools they need is vital to closing the achievement gap. We need to be doing everything possible to support teachers and educators in providing the quality education that every child deserves, no matter their background or ZIP code.”  

The Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act of 2022 is endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), National Education Association (NEA), Ohio Education Association (OEA), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Original Senate cosponsors include: Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Original House cosponsors include: Reps. Colin Allred (TX-32), Karen Bass (CA-37), Susan Bonamici (OR-01), Shontel Brown (OH-11), André Carson (IN-07), Sean Casten (IL-06), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Jim Langevin (RI-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Katie Porter (CA-45), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Darren Soto (FL-09), Tom Suozzi (NY-03), Bennie Thompson (MS-02) Juan Vargas (CA-51) and Frederica Wilson (FL-24).