Capital Editorial

Our say: Are gift cards for teacher purchases of school supplies the best we can do?, May 17, 2018.

Snider Comment

“a recently released federal study pointed out, some 94 percent of teachers spend their own money on needed classroom supplies”

In my experience, these types of government studies are highly politicized. Just because they are conducted by the government doesn’t mean they measure what they purport to measure. In particular, compensation reports relying on self-reported data and anecdotes should on their face be treated as suspect.

“The estimated cost would be $300,000”

The federal government currently provides all teachers–regardless of subject matter–with a $400 tax credit for supplies, which costs many times more than this $300K figure. Perhaps I have missed the study, but I have never seen a systematic IRS audit of these expenditures. Consequently, this tax subsidy is based on trust. No business would provide an employee supplies subsidy lacking such a credible audit system.