The California Senate may have taken “Teacher Appreciation” to a whole, new level.

As Legal Insurrection readers are aware, California is one of the most heavily taxed in the nation. However, at least our teachers are poised to get a huge tax break if a proposed measure becomes law.

A Los Angeles state lawmaker has introduced a bill to exempt teachers from paying state income tax after five years in the classroom.

Under Senate Bill 807, teachers and other educators would also be allowed a tax deduction for the cost of obtaining a teaching credential.

The bill was introduced by Democratic Sens. Henry Stern of Los Angeles and Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton, and sponsored by EdVoice, a nonprofit advocating for education reform.

SB 807 is aimed at retaining teachers long-term, even as the rate of teachers leaving the field is six times greater than other public employees, and 50 percent faster than first responders, according to California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

Perhaps our legislators will eventually learn there is an inversely proportional relationship to how much citizens are taxed versus how much incentive they have to stay.

“We want to increase across the board take-home pay for teachers in the state of California, anywhere from 5 to 7 percent,” said Stern.

The teacher-turned-state-senator co-authored the bill, SB807. He says one-third of all California teachers quit before their fifth year because it’s too hard to manage. He’s trying to keep them in the classroom.

“You’re not going to be able to get paid $50,000 a year and go live in the Bay Area, go teach at the local school….we think it’s a pretty creative tool, we’ll see how the fiscal conservatives in this house want to approach this,” said Stern.

The fact that teachers are a reliably Democratic constituency is likely factored into this proposal, which pairs with the California Senate’s move to give 17-year-olds the vote.

But granting tax relief to teachers has complications. First, our state is looking at a $2 billion deficit. So, other taxes will be raised and fees will be increased to make up for the shortfall.

The current infrastructure improvement bill provides a glimpse into why Californians, including teachers, may consider moving.  Here are samples of the money-extracting proposals.

  • An increase in the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon over three years, with a 6-cent increase in the first year followed by two years of 3-cent increases.
  • In increase the diesel fuel excise tax by 20 c.ents and an increase the diesel sales tax by 4 percent.
  • Vehicle registration fees will be raised by $38.
  • Drivers of zero-emission vehicles will have pay an annual $100 fee toward maintenance and repair (because they aren’t paying for the gas taxes like the other drivers).

Another likely consequence, if this proposal is made law, is that other professions will lobby to also be tax-exempt. Why should teachers be the only ones worthy of tax break? Aren’t doctors and nurses needed? Surely, firefighters and police are essential.

And Legal Insurrection authors are vital. I am sure my tax break will be forthcoming!