Friday, September 17, 2004

Taxes on school supplies

CNN and the Oakland Tribune both have articles describing a recent tax increase that's been handed to school teachers. OK, so technically it's not a tax increase, it's the removal of the California state tax credit and a federal tax deduction, both of which allowed teachers to get back some of the money they pay out-of-pocket for school supplies (e.g. pens, paper, printer ink, art supplies). This means that teachers are paying more in taxes than they did last year, and are paying them on supplies that their school districts should be providing anyway.

Now I could perfectly understand the removal of the tax credits / deductions if the federal and state budgets included drastically increased supply budgets for schools, and it had been shown that teachers were no longer spending their own money for classroom supplies. But this hasn't happened.

I'm not typically anti-tax, but this seems like a case where the state should be paying for the items in the first place. Thus the least we can do is acknowledge that our school budgets are woefully inadequate, and give our teachers a small break on the supplies they purchase. Of course we should really just increase school supply budgets, but that would mean raising taxes on everyone, not just teachers ...

Oh, and if you're wondering, the tax breaks only apply to K-12 teachers, not community college teachers, so they have no relevance to me personally.

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