COLUMBUS, Ohio — Teachers spend hundreds of dollars each year on books, pencils, computers, furniture and even basketballs for their students.
An Ohio state senator wants to give those teachers a tax break.
For federal income taxes, teachers already may deduct up to $250 spent on school supplies from their taxable income (or up to $500 for married people who file jointly). GOP state Sen. Stephanie Kunze is proposing an Ohio income-tax deduction for teachers who spend more than $250 on supplies, up to $500.
For example, if Ms. Frizzle spends $300 on laboratory equipment, she could deduct $250 on her federal tax return and $50 on her state return. If Mr. Feeny spends $100 on books, he could deduct that from his federal tax return only.
Items that could be deducted include professional development courses, books, computer equipment, software, furniture and even gym supplies.
About 94 percent of teachers nationwide pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s teacher questionnaire. Those teachers paid an average of $479 on school supplies.
Every deduction helps, said Melissa Cropper, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers union. But teachers would rather see schools receive enough taxpayer money that they won’t have to spend their own money.
“It’s a good gesture,” Cropper said. “It’s overlooking the bigger problem that teachers shouldn’t have to buy supplies out of their own pockets.”
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