Teachers react to tax reform decision

UTICA, N.Y. -- According to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, teachers on average spend $500 on school supplies for their classrooms. Under the GOP tax reform bill, the deduction they once got from that will be going away.

"You're looking at a tax bill that gives tax credits to people who own private jets, which gives a tax break to hedge fund managers down on Wall Street, which gives massive corporate tax cuts to the wealthiest corporations in this country at the expense of taking away very important deductions for middle class New Yorkers here in New York," said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi.

Previously, teachers got up to $250 deducted from their taxes for supplies, which they buy each year out of their own pockets.

"Many children come into the classroom without basic necessities, our teachers go in their pocket and spend their own money to help buy supplies for these students who otherwise would go without these kinds of supplies," Brindisi said.

Kirstin Vivacqua has been teaching for 17 years. She said this year she spent $200 on supplies for her students before the school year even started. For her, that's pretty typical.

"The first 11 years of my career I was at Donovan Middle School and I provided all 110 of my students with a folder and notebook and pencils throughout the year, and that was just supplies that I wanted to keep in my classroom," Vivacqua said. "I didn't want anyone to not have them."

From crayons all the way to snow boots, Vivacqua said every teacher she knows goes out of their way to buy their students supplies.

"When you're a teacher, one of the reasons you go into teaching is because you care so much about kids that you want to make a difference," she said. "You're not looking at 'oh this much,' you're looking at 'Johnny needs this.' And sometimes the only way for them to get that is for their teacher to reach into their pocket."

The next step is for the Senate and House to hold a conference committee in order to resolve differences between the two bills.


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