Tax bill could help MO teachers who spend own money on supplies

Marc LaVoie
January 24, 2020 - 1:11 pm
Photograph of school supplies and hundred dollar bills

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Jefferson City, MO - Missouri lawmakers are working to pass a tax bill that would help the state's teachers who spend a lot of their own money in their classrooms.

The bill would allow educators to deduct from their taxes 100 percent of unreimbursed class expenses, up to $500, beginning with the 2021 tax year. 

"Ninety-four percent of teachers spend money on their classroom supplies," said Sen. Lauren Arthur, a Kansas City Democrat who is sponsoring SB 583. "These costs average $459, but they can range from $100 up to thousands of dollars."

The issue affects educators in school districts across the state, regardless of economic conditions.

"I think it's outrageous," said Sen. Senator Mike Cierpiot, a Lee's Summit Republican. "In my districts, which are pretty affluent, I've  got teachers spending their own money for supplies. As much as we spend on education, it makes me crazy."

The bill says eligible participants would be teachers, principals, aides and counselors who spend at least 900 hours in K-though-12 schools in a year.

The issue has not yet been taken up in committee. 

Legislators were unsuccessful in passing the same measure in the 2019 session.

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