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Congressman Kevin Yoder

Representing the 3rd District of Kansas

Yoder Fights to Expand Educator Expense Deduction in the Final Tax Bill

Dec 13, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Earlier today, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) led a group of 12 Republican House members in sending a letter to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act conference committee, calling for the doubling of the educator expense deduction in the final version of the tax reform legislation. The letter urges House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, and the rest of the conference committee to adopt the Senate’s version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in regard to the educator expense deduction. The Senate’s plan would increase the deduction from $250 to $500 per year.

Representative Yoder issued the following statement regarding his letter:

“America’s teachers sacrifice their time, energy and personal finances every day to help our children learn and grow into our next generation of leaders. We've worked hard to produce tax legislation in the House that would give a typical Overland Park teacher a tax cut of about $1,800. But I've listened to many teachers and advocates who recognize the educator expense deduction as one small way to show teachers our appreciation for their hard work. This important deduction should remain in our tax code.

"The best way to legislate in Congress is to work together, listen to our constituents, and take their concerns to Washington. That's what I'm doing here today with this letter to the conference committee. Ultimately, the goal of tax reform is to increase economic opportunity for hardworking Americans like our teachers, and we can do it in an even better way by expanding this deduction in addition to cutting their taxes." 

The text of the letter is below:


December 13, 2017

The Honorable Kevin Brady                                 The Honorable Orrin Hatch
Chairman                                                               Chairman
House Committee on Ways & Means                   Senate Committee on Finance
1102 Longworth House Office Building              219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20515                                        Washington, DC 20510   

Dear Chairman Brady and Chairman Hatch,

In the wake of the passage of historic, comprehensive tax reform, we write to you in order to highlight one issue that we believe should be addressed in the conference process. As supporters of H.R. 1, we write to express our concerns about the provision within the bill that would eliminate the tax deduction for school supplies paid for by educators. This important tax provision supports teachers, enhances students’ learning experiences, and improves schools across our country. We strongly support the Senate’s plan for expanding the educator expense deduction in support of our nation’s hard working teachers.

Our nation’s teachers not only support America’s bright young minds with their time and care, they are also asked to subsidize our children’s education by purchasing supplies and materials for the classroom that are not reimbursed by their school. Virtually all teachers use some amount of their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms, and the average teacher spends $485 per year. This out-of-pocket cost is one that they bear out of dedication and love for their students.

Under current law, educators can receive a deduction of $250 per year for supplies they purchased for the benefit of their students. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as passed by the House, eliminated this provision. However, the Senate version of the tax reform bill included an expansion of the educator expense deduction, to $500 per year. While we value the goal of simplifying the tax code, certain specifically-targeted deductions have benefits that make them worthy of preservation. We believe that the educator expense deduction is one of these provisions whose benefits outweigh their financial cost. The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should include the Senate’s expansion of the educator expense deduction to $500 per year.

American teachers go above and beyond the call of duty for their students every single day, and the personal expenses they incur for classroom supplies are just one example of this. The tax code should reward their dedication and help them recoup at least some of that cost. As we complete the process of overhauling our nation’s tax code, we ask that you increase the crucial educator expense deduction.


Rep. Kevin Yoder
Rep. Luke Messer
Rep. Dave Brat
Rep. Gus Bilirakis
Rep. Kay Granger
Rep. Blake Farenthold
Rep. Mike Bost
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Rep. Ryan A. Costello
Rep. Lee Zeldin
Rep. Tom MacArthur
Rep. David G. Valadao