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California Teachers Income Tax Bill Aims to Attract Educators

Image: California Teachers Income Tax Bill Aims to Attract Educators
In this Sept. 30, 2016, photo, teacher Regina Yang leads a bilingual Korean-English language immersion classes at Porter Ranch Community School in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

By    |   Monday, 13 Mar 2017 09:07 AM

California could become the first state in the U.S. to eliminate income tax for teachers as a way to attract and retain more people in the education profession.

Two state Senate Democrats have proposed the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act as a remedy for California’s teacher shortage crisis. Noticeable shortages have been strikingly evident for the past three years, U.S. News reported. A survey of 211 state school districts revealed that 75 percent reported teacher shortages during the 2016-17 school year.

Math, science, bilingual, and special education have been the hardest hit. State educators have been forced to hire teachers underqualified for certain subjects or use teachers outside their areas of expertise to handle certain classes.

“This bill is finally bringing out to the sunshine of California how serious the problem is,” said Bill Lucia, president and CEO of EdVoice, a nonprofit California education advocacy group that backs the bill, according to U.S. News.

“We want to make it a better environment for veteran teachers to stay and make it more appealing for new teachers and career switchers to enter the profession,” Lucia told Education Week. “Because of the cuts during the Great Recession, we are seeing some new teachers having the costs of their training deducted from their paychecks.”

The bill also includes giving new teachers tax credits to cover the costs of that training.

Some states have provided tax breaks on pensions for retired teachers. New Jersey and Maryland have considered income tax relief for teachers, but California has taken the first major step with the proposed bill.

Senate Bill 807 would eliminate income taxes for the next 10 years for teachers with more than five years of experience. It would be like a 4- to 6-percent raise, according to Education Week.

A teacher with six years of experience making a salary of $59,728 would receive a tax savings of $2,483, which would be a 4.2 percent raise, U.S. News noted.

Lucia said the bill, which is currently only four pages, has a good chance of being passed. His organization plans on doing state polling methods to get the attention of policymakers.

“Voters know this is important, that we need to do it, so it’s about making sure the policymakers feel comfortable that the state is behind them,” Lucia said, according to Education Week.

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California could become the first state in the U.S. to eliminate income tax for teachers as a way to attract and retain more people in the education profession.
california, teachers, income, tax, bill
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2017-07-13
Monday, 13 Mar 2017 09:07 AM
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