State legislators in California are contemplating a new law which, if passed, would allow public school teachers to avoid paying any state income tax whatsoever.
A pair of Democrats, Sen. Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton and Sen. Henry Stern of Los Angeles, introduced the bill in February to address a shortage of teachers in the Golden State, reports The Sacramento Bee.
The bill, Senate Bill 807, would operate by providing new California teachers with tax credits equal to the amount they have spent on college tuition, certification exams and others costs associated with obtaining their teaching credentials, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Teachers would have to teach in California for five years to rack up enough tax credits to recoup those costs completely.
Teachers who stick around for five years would then become completely exempt from state income tax.
Leaving other deductions and exemptions aside, the basic effect would be an income increase for California teachers ranging between 4 percent and 6 percent for every teacher in the state.
Advocates of the bill say it’s necessary because California’s school districts are having trouble replacing aging baby-boomer teachers who are retiring in droves. Also, the California Teachers Association claims that about a third of the state’s teachers ditch the job within the first seven years.
“What we’ve got to do is say, ‘You’re important, it’s a noble profession and we want you to stay in California classrooms,” Bill Lucia, president of EdVoice, a California group pushing the legislation, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The average salary for public school teachers in California is $69,324, according to TeacherPortal.com.
This amount is notably higher than California’s $61,818 median household income.
The average starting salary for California teachers is $41,259.
“The teaching profession is critical to California’s economic success and impacts every vocation and profession in the state,” Stern, the state lawmaker from Los Angeles, said in a statement obtained by the Bee. “SB 807 addresses the immediate teacher shortage and sends a loud and clear message across the state and nation: California values teachers.”
Taxpayer-funded teachers “are the original job creators,” Stern also pontificated, according to the Times.