The Idaho Education Association has tried and tried – and tried again – to introduce a bill that would allow teachers to deduct up to $250 in classroom supply purchases from their income tax, always to no avail.
But today, Sen. Bert Brackett (R – Rogerson) successfully introduced a bill in the House Revenue & Taxation Committee, which agreed to give it a full hearing. “This would remove the prohibition of allowing the deduction of $250 for classroom supplies for teachers,” Brackett said. “It will essentially conform with federal tax code. The emergency clause will assure it goes into effect for the 2012 tax year. This is a fair, common sense adjustment.”
The IEA appreciates the senator’s efforts. Coincidentally, the federal deduction that he referenced expired at the end of 2011. Ask our lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to reauthorize it as part of any deal to extend the payroll tax.
In other news today:
• We learned that the Senate Education Committee will hear S1297, the bill cutting classified employee grievance rights, next Wednesday, February 15, at 3 p.m. The IEA is identifying Education Support Professional members to travel to Boise and lobby lawmakers on that day. If you are interested, contact your region director as soon as possible.
• The House passed H426, the “8-in-6” high school acceleration plan sponsored by Rep. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett), on a 58-12 vote.
• The Times-News in Twin Falls published an editorial critical of the rush accompanying State Superintendent Tom Luna’s education reforms. “Politics aside, there’s no practical reason Luna couldn’t have spent the last year using his working groups to hash out the details and approach of Students Come First without requiring it to be law first. Legislators and educators would have received a detailed, thought-out package that could be explained in-depth and likely paid for with a little more forethought. … Effective legislation isn’t passed and fixed later; it’s carefully proposed so that it improves the lives of Idahoans without causing more problems in the process.”
• President Barack Obama and Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the approval of ten states’ plans to make substantial school reforms in return for temporary regulatory relief from some of No Child Left Behind’s mandates. These were states that filed their requests for waivers in November. Idaho has not yet filed its request, but it is mulling a five-star rating plan. The next round of applications is due this month.