News & Politics

CA Lawmakers Want to Exempt Teachers from State Taxes

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Lawmakers in California have introduced legislation that would offer a tax reprieve for California teachers. The legislation is supposed to be an incentive to retain teachers in California, which is having trouble keeping their teachers around.

Democratic senators Henry Stern of Los Angeles and Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton earlier this month introduced Senate Bill 807, which would exempt teachers from paying the state income tax – which would be the equivalent of a 4 percent to 6 percent salary increase – after five years in the classroom.

California’s state income tax rate ranges from 1 percent to 12.3 percent, depending on taxable income. For example, taxable income between $40,774 and $51,530 draws a 8 percent tax rate while taxable income between $51,531 and $263,222 draws a 9.3 percent tax rate.

Other benefits of the bill would provide credits to teachers who spend money on their teaching credentials, like college tuition and certification tests.

“Teachers are the original job creators. The teaching profession is critical to California’s economic success and impacts every vocation and profession in the state,” Stern said in a press release. “SB 807 addresses the immediate teacher shortage and sends a loud and clear message across the state and nation:  California values teachers. We will help train you and we want you to stay in the classroom.”

Senator Stern, a former teacher, said that one-third of all teachers quit before they hit their five-year mark because of the cost of living and low pay. Maybe the state should work on lowering the cost of living?

Taxpayer advocates were not happy about the bill.

“If you take an entire class of people based on their occupation and say that they are somehow ‘more deserving’ than everyone else and should be exempted from paying state income taxes, what other groups might qualify? It’s not hard to imagine quite a few of these ‘deserving’ professions being rather quick to have their hands out,” Jazz Shaw wrote on the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association website.

So far the bill has not faced any opposition from lawmakers in either party. No figures have been released about the possible lost tax revenue from the proposed legislation.