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Senate GOP Tax Plan Will Crush Public School Budgets

The Senate GOP tax bill hurts every state’s ability to fund its schools, yanking support for education investments in our children. Senate Republicans’ plan to eliminate the state and local tax (SALT) deduction prevents families from recouping many costs, such as funding local public schools. Wiping out the SALT deduction would jeopardize education revenues and hundreds, even thousands, of teaching positions in each state. 

The SALT deduction encourages families to support education spending. For example, a working family that paid $10,000 in state and local taxes would be able to deduct that $10,000 on their federal tax return, lowering the amount of taxes they pay. That lighter tax burden enables state governments to propose revenue measures that fund critical investments in our schools, such as paying teachers and maintaining infrastructure.

Eliminating the SALT deduction would pressure state governments to trim further investments in our children, at a time when many states continue to cut education spending. In 2016, more than half of states were still providing less funding per student than they were in 2008. States and local communities already pay a large portion of public education: on average, states cover 85 percent of total K-12 spending each year. Cuts to state and local education funding threaten to further weaken already cash-strapped systems. Under the GOP tax bill, eight states risk losing over $1,000 in revenue per student each year. In Maine, elimination of the SALT deduction could cut available education funds by more than $136 million, or $773 per student each year.

In addition, the Senate GOP bill would endanger thousands of teaching jobs. In Wisconsin, SALT elimination would put $712 million of state education revenue at risk, jeopardizing almost 5,000 teaching jobs each year.