Back-To-School Shopping Presents a Serious Challenge During Record-High Inflation

Legislative Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Even under the best economic conditions, back-to-school shopping can be financially challenging. In today’s times of historic inflation and economic uncertainty, it’s an even bigger hill to climb. Unfortunately, this is the reality facing many New York families as September rapidly approaches. And for this reason, the Assembly Minority Conference has offered proposals to help ease the burden for families facing mounting education-related costs as well as for teachers who will inevitably wind up spending personal funds on their classroom and student needs.

To put the issue in context, earlier this week the U.S. Department of Labor released new consumer pricing figures showing inflation continues to linger at a near-four-decade high. Inflation rose 8.5% in July indicating we are still far off from any sort of normalcy.

To that end, the Assembly Minority Conference is advocating, as we have broadly for months, for consumer relief measures as the new school year approaches. Specifically, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) and I are calling on legislative leaders and Gov. Kathy Hochul to consider two important pieces of legislation to help both families and teachers in the coming weeks. Those bills are the:

  • Teacher Tax Credit: Provides a $500 tax credit to teachers who contribute and/or purchase supplies, pay for field trip costs and help with student expenses (A.4977, Palmesano); and the
  • College Supplies Tax Deduction: Establishes college supplies as a tax deductible expense (A.5301, Barclay).

We have also introduced legislation and called upon our Majority colleagues to reduce the cost of everyday items like household items, food purchases and gasoline. We’ve also supported across-the-board tax and spending cuts. The cost of living in New York has been too high for too long and something needs to be done about it. Now, as many in the state prepare to take on the added financial strain of a new school year, is a particularly opportune time to mitigate as much of these costs as we can.

Whether it is educators, college students, families or simply individuals trying to get by, we must provide relief from the harsh, overwhelming economic conditions suppressing our state. Right now, that is simply not happening, and I am calling on all my colleagues across the state to take the steps needed to address these concerns as students, teachers and parents get ready to head back to school.