Ed­u­ca­tion as­so­ci­a­tion: House tax bill would elim­i­nate 9,200 jobs from Va.

Losses would re­sult from cut­ting state, lo­cal tax de­duc­tion

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NATION & WORLD - BY JUSTIN MATTINGLY jmat­tingly@times­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6012 Twit­ter: @jmat­tingly306

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.

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