Education association: House tax bill would eliminate 9,200 jobs from Va.
Losses would result from cutting state, local tax deduction
The tax plan being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives would lead to the loss of more than 9,200 education jobs in Virginia, a national education union estimates.
The losses would come from removing the state and local tax (SALT) deduction provision, which would “blow a hole” in support for public education. Its elimination would mean about 250,000 job losses nationwide, including 9,264 in Virginia.
“Instead of tax cuts for the wealthy, we must ensure that our students have caring, qualified, and committed educators in order to succeed,” Virginia Education Association President Jim Livingston said in a statement. “This bill is terrible for our state because it is a giveaway for the wealthy and corporations funded on the backs of students and middleclass families. We urge Congress to reject it.”
The National Education Association estimated that about $8 billion over 10 years would be at risk in Virginia if the provision were to be eliminated. Across the U.S., that number rises to $246.6 billion, according to the NEA’s analysis released Friday.
The vast majority — up to 90 percent
— of school budgets are funded by state and local governments.
In a statement, the NEA compared the potential losses to the staff reductions caused by the Great Recession in 2008.
“It has taken years to recover from the Great Recession, and we’re not out of the woods yet, what with our country facing a national teacher shortage,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
Since House Republicans unveiled their plan, the removal of the SALT provision has become a highly contested topic. Senate Republicans released their own tax plan last week. In their plan, the provision would be completely repealed, according to Reuters.
About 44 million Americans claim the SALT deduction, including about 1.4 million people in Virginia, according to a statement from Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who came out against the House plan.
“Eliminating or capping these provisions will take money out of these Virginians’ pockets and use it to finance a tax cut for the wealthy and big corporations,” McAuliffe said.
National education groups issued a joint statement in late October opposing the elimination of the SALT deduction.
The SALT deduction isn’t the only one that would affect teachers.
The House tax plan would also eliminate a tax deduction for teachers and other workers for money — up to $250 — they spend on supplies in an effort to simplify the tax code. Teachers spend about $500 of their own money on school supplies each academic year, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association.
“It sends a terrible message to those in our classrooms and those thinking of becoming teachers,” said Livingston, the VEA president, in a statement Monday. “It’s one of many misplaced priorities in the tax proposal.”
The Senate bill retains the supplies deduction.