A Senate committee is considering a bill that could create a tax credit for teachers who are forced to pay out-of-pocket for supplies for schools in Hawai'i. The Hawai'i State Teachers Association issued a report indicating that almost 50 percent of teachers spend $250 to $500 on additional supplies for students. Many stated that they spend $1,000 or more.
SB 2484 aims to allow teachers, librarians and counselors to claim up to $500 on their state tax returns for books, computer equipment and other supplementary materials. A federal credit of $250 expired last year.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee unanimously voted in approval of the measure, which was introduced by 18 of the state's 25 senators. The bill is estimated to cost the state $8 million annually.
"Thank you for introducing something friendly to teachers like this," said Lawrence Dennis III, a teacher from Waikoloa Elementary School who testified at the hearing. "We have been hit with pay cuts, furloughs, increased medical, attacks to tenure and other benefits. I think it's about time we get something good for a change."