California bill would offer teachers freedom from state income tax
- In a bid to attract and retain teachers, California's Senate Bill 807 would waive the requirement for teachers who have been working in the field at least five years to pay state income tax.
- Also known as the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act, EdSource reports that the bill would be the first of its kind in the U.S. if passed, though the legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown will likely oppose it due to budget constraints.
- The bill is part of an ongoing effort to address a teacher shortage in the state and also includes tax credits for students in teacher credentialing or advanced degree programs.
Teacher shortages are an issue nationwide as the field struggles to make itself an attractive option for young people. Low pay has long been a concern for those interested, and a number of efforts in recent years have highlighted just how large the gap between salaries and cost-of-living has grown. For example, the Santa Clara and Los Angeles Unified School Districts in California, as well as St. Louis and Colorado's Eagle County district, have worked to provide affordable housing options for educators.
Teachers do have student loan forgiveness programs available to them as an incentive for entering the field, so a tax exemption could potentially be more icing on the cake. But it also would not address the root problem that salaries in the field aren't in line with cost of living, and policymakers will have to address that sooner rather than later if they want to ensure the best and brightest are attracted to the profession.
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