K-12 teachers could receive $500 tax deductions

Missouri News Network

JEFFERSON CITY — K-12 teachers could receive up to $500 in tax deductions under proposed legislation addressed by House lawmakers this week.

Rep. Ann Kelley, R-Lamar, said House Bill 314 would reimburse teachers for any expenses related to educational purposes.

Kelley, the bill’s sponsor, said that she typically spent $1,000 out of pocket on school-related expenses when she worked as a teacher. She said based on her experience, she believes teachers might be willing to spend more if they know they will be somewhat compensated.

Some lawmakers, like Rep. Scott Cupps, R-Shell Knob, said this bill will be particularly helpful in specialized classroom environments, such as those that include where his wife teaches.

“When you get into some of those specialized areas where it is, for lack of a better term, high-risk students, those teachers across the gamut spend a lot of their own money and resources in those situations,” Cupps said.

Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, said he didn’t think the $500 tax deduction would be sufficient.

“I would certainly be interested in seeing that number go higher," Fitzwater said, "maybe $1,000 or another level.”

Kelley said she would be willing to increase the tax deduction amount but didn’t want to push it too high in order to ensure the legislation has a chance.

“I wanted something that would actually get through to everybody,” Kelley said.