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  Dear Friends:

Today, Wednesday, November 19, 2003, I introduced Bill 222 – “The Educator Appreciation Act of 2003.” Read it at:

After years of the government chronically under-funding public schools, educators have responded to the needs of their students by spending their own money on various supplies including books, pencils, crayons, paper, glue, scissors and erasers.

Currently, the tax code allows a $250 deduction from adjusted gross income allowing teachers and other educators to deduct qualified expenses (even if the educator does not itemize the expenses as deductions).

Given Guam’s inadequate funding of the school system, it is almost a certainty that educators will continue to attempt to meet the needs of their students by spending their own money. The Educator Appreciation Act allows educators to claim a tax rebate to recover up to five hundred dollars ($500) of personal expenditures over and above the two hundred-fifty dollar ($250) deduction allowed by the Internal Revenue Code.

The $250 tax deduction may be sufficient for teachers in some mainland states, but it is woefully inadequate for many teachers in the Guam Public School System. Our teachers are constantly spending their own money on things DOE should furnish.

For nearly 40 years, GEDA Qualifying Certificates have been issued to businesses allowing them tax rebates to encourage economic development. The Educator Appreciation Act extends the functional equivalent of the Qualifying Certificate (The Educator’s Qualifying Certificate or EQC) and tax rebate, on a much smaller scale, to teachers. While this rebate is insufficient to make up for the economic hardship suffered by teachers, it is one way for this community to show its appreciation to its educators.

Educators on Guam are essentially taxed twice: once every April; and again if educators pay for supplies (books, pencils, crayons, paper, glue, scissors and erasers ) that the government should be purchasing for the classroom. Bill 222 – “The Educator Appreciation Act of 2003” helps to relieve educators of this “double-taxation.”

Please give me a call or e-mail me to discuss these issues or any other issues on your mind. I’m interested in your thoughts and ideas.


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