Bennet, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Expand Tax Deduction To Include Early Childhood Educators

Legislation Will Ensure Educators of Young Children Are Eligible for the $250 Deduction K-12 Teachers Currently Receive

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, and Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the U.S. Senate Education Committee, introduced the bipartisan Supporting Early-Childhood Educators’ Deductions (SEED) Act to allow early childhood educators to claim the existing above-the-line $250 tax deduction for K-12 teachers. The deduction would help early childhood educators cover the cost of supplies, books, and other materials for their classrooms.

“Educators work tirelessly to create a safe and encouraging learning environment for our kids,” said Bennet. “And many Colorado teachers go well beyond the call of duty, using their own money to provide additional materials for their students. Expanding the current above-the-line tax deduction to include early childhood educators will help ensure those who teach our nation’s youngest children can provide their students with the supplies they need to succeed. ”

“In Maine and across the country, we are fortunate to have so many dedicated educators who work hard to ensure that every child has a learning environment that is safe, welcoming, and enriching,” said Collins. “In spite of tight budgets and their own modest salaries, it is truly remarkable how often teachers use money out of their own pockets to purchase classroom supplies for their children.  As the author of the original $250 tax credit for K-12 teachers, I am delighted to join this effort to expand this benefit to pre-K educators.  This tax credit will help more people by reimbursing early childhood educators for the resources they invest in our children’s future.”

"As the CEO of a Head Start program that employs almost 200 early childhood educators, I am grateful to Senators Bennet and Collins for recognizing the commitment of our teachers to serving our youngest students,” said Noreen Landis-Tyson, President and CEO, Community Partnership for Child Development. “Early childhood teachers lay the foundation for children's educational success.  Including early childhood educators alongside K-12 teachers acknowledges their commitment to ensuring the best possible learning environment for their children."

Studies have shown that teachers spend an average of $530 of their own money in the classroom. In 2002, Congress created an above-the-line educator expense deduction to allow qualifying K-12 teachers and other eligible educators such as counselors and principals to deduct up to $250 of expenses incurred for classroom supplies. However, educators of children in pre-Kindergarten and younger are not currently covered by the educator expense deduction.

U.S. Representatives Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives in September.

The SEED Act is endorsed by: The Center for American Progress, American Federation of Teachers, Teach For America, First Five Years Fund, and Trying Together.

The bill text is available HERE.