Happy January FFT and welcome to a new decade! I hope you had a restful holiday recess and you were able to spend quality time with family and friends. Besides welcoming in the new year, here at the FFT office we want to again welcome Melanie Harper as our new part time office administrator. Although she was in training in the fall with Margaret, she is now flying solo and doing a great job. Her hours are 12:30pm-4:30pm so when you call the office remember to say hello and welcome to Melanie.
At the end of 2019 our national unions advocated and lobbied for us and got some wins for educators. House members passed the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act (H.R. 5377), lifting the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction for two years.The legislation also quadrupled the annual educator tax deduction from $250 to $1000, acknowledging the tremendous sacrifice we as educators make when we spend our own money on classroom supplies for students in need. According to a U.S. Department of Education survey, approximately 94 percent of educators spent an average of $500 on school supplies in 2014-2015; nearly 1 out of 10 spent $1,000. It's important to note that elections definitely matter and that we always want to support legislators that are both teacher friendly, and union friendly.
Lastly, please continue to take advantage of the new NYSUT Legal Plan benefit that the FFT is providing. Many of you are now working on protecting and providing for your families by creating simple wills, power of attorney, health care proxies, and living wills. Also note that Feldman, Kramer & Monaco, P.C. can give help with personal legal matters such as dealing with a speeding ticket or handling estate planning. With the plan, you get access to unlimited, toll-free advice from plan attorneys. We will always be looking for ways to help you so definitely check out other union member benefits on the NYSUT member benefits website. There you will see information on discounts and also hear how you can possibly take part in the 2020 Member Appreciation Month.
Please always know we appreciate all our members and we are thankful that you continue to stick with you union.