Let teachers deduct the money they spend on school supplies

Photo: TABOR impact $0.11

This article is part of our look at potential refunds from the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. Learn more about how TABOR works here.

Title: HB15-1104 Educator Expenses State Income Tax Deduction

Sponsors: Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzalff (R-Pueblo)

Status: Introduced and assigned to the House Finance and Appropriations committees on Jan. 15. The Finance Committee referred an amended version of the bill favorably to the Appropriations Committee on Jan. 29. The Appropriations committee referred the unamended bill to the House on March 6. On March 12, the bill was introduced to the Senate after passing its second and third readings in the House. The Senate Finance Committee referred the unamended bill to the Appropriations Committee on March 24. The Appropriations Committee killed the bill on April 17.

What the bill would have done: For the next five years, eligible Colorado teachers would have been able to deduct any unreimbursed money they spent on classroom supplies, up to $250. This replaces an identical federal tax credit that Congress may allow to expire after this year. The state credit would only be available in years when the federal version is not.

How it would have affected your refund: This bill would have lessened the average taxpayer refund by 11 cents for 2015-16.

What was being said about this bill:

Todd Engdahl, writing for Chalkbeat Colorado on Jan. 29:

A bill that would allow teachers to take a $250 state tax deduction for school supplies and materials they pay for out of their own pockets passed the House Finance Committee Thursday on a 9-2 vote after members of both parties agreed it would be a nice gesture even if it wouldn’t make much financial difference.

Todd Engdahl, writing for Chalkbeat Colorado on March 9:

Without debate, the House gave preliminary approval to House Bill 15-1104, which would give a $250 tax credit to teachers who spend their own money to buy school supplies. This measure has a strong feel-good element to it, given that legislators from both parties agree it wouldn’t have a huge in impact on teachers’ taxes.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that this bill became law. We regret the error.