California is facing a teacher shortage, and a state Senate bill to “combat the problem” has been introduced.
First, it would give new teachers tax credits for the money they spent to earn full teaching credentials. The credits would cover such costs as college tuition and certification tests. These expenses could be recouped entirely over five years.
Second, it would exempt teachers who remain in the profession more than five years from paying state taxes on income earned from teaching. The effect would be equivalent to a 4% to 6% salary increase, according to backers.
Teachers who earn a $75,000 salary would gain the equivalent of a 5 percent raise, saving nearly $4,000 on their annual tax bill after they meet the five year requirement.
If the bill is passed into law, teachers who remain in the profession for more than five years will be exempt from paying state income tax for 10 years.
About 300,000 teachers would benefit from the cut in the first year, and the tax breaks would cost around $617 million in state revenue annually for the 10 years they would be in effect. That’s about 0.5% of the $123 billion state budget, SF Gate reports.
One-third of all California teachers are older than 50, and turnover among young teachers remains high – the California Teachers Association claims that about a third of the state’s teachers leave the job within the first seven years.
In addition, fewer are entering the profession, according to data from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In the 2014-15 school year, enrollments in teacher preparation programs dropped to 20,881 — down 40% from 2010-11 and 73% from 2001-02, according to the LA Times.
Statewide, 75 percent of districts reported a shortage of teachers this school year, including 80 percent of urban districts and 69 percent of schools in the suburbs, according to a poll conducted by the California School Boards Association and the Learning Policy Institute, an education research nonprofit group.
It appears that teachers in California are fairly well-paid already. The median household income in the state is $61,818, which is significantly less than the average salary of $69,324 for teachers, reports The Daily Caller.
In fact, as Jazz Shaw points out,
Nobody is denying that teachers play a critical role in our society, but the long held belief that teachers are vastly underpaid needs to be re-examined. This was certainly true back in the 70s when I was growing up, but there have been reforms underway for quite some time. It’s also impossible to underestimate the power and influence that the nation’s teachers unions have with Democrats and the deals they have managed to work out with the government have gone a tremendous ways toward addressing former inequities.
Shaw suggests we take a look at just how much teachers are getting paid these days with data provided from the California Department of Education:
He also raises another important point. For lawmakers to pick certain groups to get privileged treatment is a slippery slope – where does it end?
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.
What about firefighters? Paramedics? Farmers? Medical professionals?
What about…every working person in California…and heck, in every state that has an income tax?
While we are at it, can we abolish the federal income tax too? I think that’s an idea everyone can get behind.
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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”