Day 56: Dole leaves teachers out to dry

DAY 56

On the campaign trail in 2002, Elizabeth Dole made empty promises to support tax deductions for teachers and other incentives such as signing bonuses. But once Dole got to Washington, it’s like the teacher had left the room. She voted against extending teacher tax deductions, against loan forgiveness for teachers, and against funding teacher quality programs that would have significantly enhanced North Carolina classrooms. If you think answering to one teacher is tough, how does Dole plan to answer to the some 90,000 North Carolina teachers who lost their tax deductions so that the wealthiest Americans could enjoy tax breaks?

2002: Dole Said She Supported Teacher Tax Deductions. Campaigning in 2002, Dole said she supported increased tax deductions for teachers to cover out-of-pocket classroom expenses. [Raleigh News & Record, 8/7/02]

2005: Dole Voted Against Extending Expiring Teacher Expenses Tax Deduction. In November 2005, Dole voted against a $58 billion tax cut package that would have extended expiring tax cuts, including the deduction for teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses. [Vote 330, 11/17/05; Sen. Conrad Press Release, 11/17/05]

2006: Dole Voted For Tax Bill That Benefited Wealthy While Raising Expenses For Over 90,000 North Carolina Teachers. In May 2006, Dole voted for the final version of the $70 billion tax reconciliation bill that removed a provision that had allowed 3.27 million teachers – including 90,237 in North Carolina – to save $814 million through an educator expenses tax deduction in 2003. The provision, which allowed teachers to deduct up to $250 of out-of-pocket expenses they paid for books and classroom supplies, was included in earlier versions of the bill but was stripped in the final version. Meanwhile, the tax bill Dole supported would only save middle income Americans $20 each while the top tenth of 1 percent (whose average income is $5.3 million) would save $82,415. [Vote 118, 5/11/06; IRS Data, October 2005; Democratic Policy Committee, 9/26/06 New York Times, 5/5/06]

2002: On the Campaign Trail, Dole Pledged Support For Incentives For Teachers. Campaigning at Philo Middle School in 2002, Dole “suggested several ways to attract and keep more teachers, including encouraging programs like Teach for America, supporting lateral-entry teachers that come from other fields, creating incentives such as signing bonuses and housing subsidies to draw teachers to low-income school districts,” according to a report by the Winston-Salem Journal. “Teaching is not just a job, it’s a calling, a noble endeavor,” Dole said. “North Carolina has made progress in raising the pay of teachers,” she said. “That’s one step in an ongoing process of recognizing teachers as professionals. But we need to do more.’” [Winston-Salem Journal, 8/7/02]

Dole Voted Against Student Loan Forgiveness For Teachers. In March 2005, Dole voted against an amendment that would have provided up to $23,000 in student loan forgiveness to new teachers in high-need schools. [Vote 68, 3/17/05; NEA Congressional Report Card]

Dole Voted Against Adding $437 Million For Teacher Quality Programs. On September 10, 2003, Dole voted against an amendment that provided for an additional $437 million for teacher quality programs to the Education, Labor, HHS appropriations bill. [Vote 343, 9/10/03]

2002: Dole Refused To Answer North Carolina Association of Educators’ Questionnaire. As a U.S. Senatorial candidate in 2002, Dole refused to answer the North Carolina Association of Educator’s questionnaire. The NCAE News Bulletin reported, “Despite repeated communications from our Governmental Relations staff, Republican Elizabeth Dole was the only invited candidate that neither completed a questionnaire nor agreed to be interviewed by the commission.” [NCAE News Bulletin, May 2002; Durham Herald Sun, 5/23/02]

---Disclosure: I am Kay Hagan's Online Communications Director---