September 12, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senator Angus King has introduced a bill to expand tax deductions for teachers that pay out-of-pocket for school supplies. The Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act of 2023 would more than triple the amount educators can deduct from their taxes for out-of-pocket classroom expenses – from notebooks to pencils to paper products. The current deduction for teachers is $300 – far less than most teachers report spending out of their own pocket each year. The legislation would increase that amount to $1,000 and index it to inflation going forward.
“As the son of two public school teachers, I’m eternally grateful for the contributions of America’s educators,” said Senator King. “From the moment they walk into a classroom, Maine’s teachers lay the foundation for our children’s success and provide an invaluable, often underappreciated service to our communities. This bill will ensure that our teachers can receive expanded tax deductions when they pay out-of-pocket to buy learning tools for their students. I hope we can all take time to recognize the contributions of Maine educators, and educators across the nation, who devote their lives to teaching the next generation.”
According to the Maine Department of Education, there are 14,714 educators that are licensed to work in Maine’s schools. Recent reports estimate that teachers are paid 20 percent less than similarly-skilled professionals – and are often asked to cover everyday classroom expenses. Increasing the tax deduction for workplace expenses recognizes the personal sacrifices so many educators make to ensure our children have the tools to learn.
Joining Senator King on the legislation are Senators Sherrod Brown (OH), Bob Casey (PA), Tina Smith (MN), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Chris Murphy (D-CN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) and Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) are expected to introduce bipartisan companion legislation in the House of Representatives this week.
Senator King is a strong advocate for teachers across Maine. Most recently, he introduced legislation to increase access to mental health resources for educators. He also recently secured more than $14 million for early learning programs at Penquis C.A.P., Inc. in Bangor, Aroostook County Action Program in Presque Isle, and Southern Kennebec Child Development Corporation in Farmingdale. He also secured $5 million for early learning programs in Sanford, Androscoggin Head Start and Child Care in Lewiston, and Midcoast Maine Community Action in Bath. In addition to funding, Senator King has co-sponsored a resolution to honor America’s teacher during National Teachers Week.
The bill text can be found here.