Inside the Beltway
What’s Happening in Washington?
Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown last week by passing a continuing resolution through January 19, 2018. Congress also passed a sweeping tax overhaul that was signed into law by President Trump.
Why Should Principals Care?
Congress avoided a government shutdown in December by passing a continuing resolution (CR) that provides level funding for the government through January 19. One important aspect of the CR was the inclusion of $2.85 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides insurance support for low-income children, and had expired in September. The new funding will give states some relief, as the $2.85 billion should extend the program through March.
Congress will need to return on January 19 to finalize an FY 2018 budget deal. This budget could coincide with a deal to raise the budget caps for defense and non-defense discretionary funds. Because a caps deal would affect the overall budget numbers of FY 2018, appropriators are waiting to begin crafting any long-term bills until a deal is either completed or not.
The tax overhaul passed by Congress, or H.R. 1, has several policies that affect educators. The bill does the following:
- It puts a $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction (SALT). SALT offers potential tax breaks for individuals that pay for state and local taxes on real estate property, income, personal property, and sales, thus offering incentives for individuals to engage in activities that benefit education. Putting a cap on the amount that can be deducted could result in less funding for education moving forward.
- It now allows for 529 plans to be used to cover expenses at public, private, and religious schools. 529 savings plans were originally intended to be used to save money for a student to attend college. This change allows dollars to flow more freely to private institutions.
- It keeps a provision that allows K–12 teachers and principals to deduct up to $250 that they personally spend on their students or classes. This deduction can also be used on out-of-pocket professional development expenses as well.
Don’t Miss the 2018 Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.!
Join principals from across the nation in Washington, D.C., March 19–21, for the 2018 NASSP Advocacy Conference. At this conference, you will have the opportunity to hear from some of the nation’s foremost education thought leaders. You will also receive federal advocacy training and the chance to use that training on Capitol Hill in meetings with your elected representatives in Congress.
Registration is available to Federal Grassroots Network (FGN) members only and the conference is free, but attendees will be responsible for their hotel and travel costs. Visit the NASSP Advocacy Conference page to join FGN and register for the conference today!
In the Press
The new tax overhaul passed by Congress has many other far-reaching consequences besides just in K–12 education. EdWeek provides a full breakdown of all the policies in the new legislation.