By Amanda Litvinov
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The callous tax proposal released recently by the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives puts nearly 250,000 education jobs at risk, while offering $5 trillion in giveaways to the nation’s wealthiest individuals and rich corporations.
The House plan all but eliminates the critical state and local tax deduction (SALT), which will hobble the ability of state and local governments to invest in their public schools by destabilizing their budgets.
That means nearly 250,000 educators could lose their jobs, according to a detailed analysis of the impact of House Tax Bill (HR 1) on funding for public education conducted by the National Education Association. Click here for a state-by-state breakdown of the impact of eliminating SALT.
“The Republican leadership’s tax plan is another example of misguided priorities in Washington,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
“The plan is a tax giveaway to the wealthiest and corporations paid for on the backs of working people and students. That will translate into cuts to public schools, lost jobs to educators, overcrowded classrooms that deprive students of one-on-one attention, and threaten public education,” García said.
The NEA analysis shows that the impact of eliminating SALT on public education would lead to cuts of approximately $250 billion in support for public education over the next ten years.
A cut of this magnitude is akin to eliminating the Title I and IDEA special education programs overnight.
The number of education jobs at risk is nearly equal to the education jobs lost during the Great Recession. The best estimates show that the country lost about 300,000 education jobs during the economic crisis.
In addition to losing teachers, school aides, and other key education support professionals, some school districts reduced the number of school days from five to four; critical education programs, including before and after school programs and full-day kindergarten, also took a hit. Class sizes ballooned.
The Republican leadership bill comes as the nation also faces a teacher shortage. At the start of the 2017-18 school year, every state in the country was facing a teacher shortage. In addition, according to the Washington Post, school districts also are struggling to fill positions in math, reading and English language arts, as well as finding substitute teachers.
“It has taken years to recover from the Great Recession, and we’re not out of the woods yet, what with our country facing a national teacher shortage,” said García.