Education Advocates Warn of Dire Cuts if Tax Plan Becomes Law
LFA members representing teachers, superintendents and school boards speak out against tax reform bills, warning of the impact on public school funding and future deficits
LFA organizations are concerned that the tax reform measures that have passed the Senate and House would seriously undermine public education funding by eliminating state and local tax deductions and harm educators who deduct their out-of-pocket expenses to pay for classroom supplies, among other changes to the tax code. While final details must be worked out in conference committees and approved again by respective chambers, many LFA groups see dire circumstances ahead not only for schools but taxpayers.
The National Education Association estimates that a tax reform measure would:
- Kill state and local deductions, risking $25 billion to $37 billion per year in funding for primary and secondary schools, and putting 250,000 to 370,000 educator jobs at risk.
- Eliminate the deduction for educators who pay out of their own pocket for classroom materials.
- End the deduction for interest paid on student loans.
- Take money away from public schools to fund private school vouchers.
Tom Gentzel, executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association, said the organization was “deeply troubled” by the Senate’s recent action in this statement, adding: “While it’s unclear, the full extent of the impact the proposed changes will have on local decision making and resources available for public services, the threat it poses to students, parents and communities is very real. Limiting the current State and Local Tax deduction and providing tax-advantages for private school tuition accounts are misguided efforts and a significant step in the wrong direction.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the tax bill would reward wealthy donors and corporations while sticking it to the middle class: “Trump and the Republicans are going after public education and services at a time when at least 29 states are still spending less on public schools than they did before the great recession,” she said. “The old Republican cries against deficits, deficits, deficits are gone; passage of this bill makes it clear Republicans now only care about tax breaks for the rich.”
And Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association, said his organization was “frustrated with this tax plan and how those who voted for it lack an understanding of—or even care about—its impact on public schools.”
“Changes to tax policy can be a good thing, a chance for leadership and opportunity. The bill passed by the Senate fails on all of these fronts, threatens one of our nation’s original forms of infrastructure (public education) and stands to do far more harm, than good” he said.