Capitol Alert

Should California teachers have to pay state income tax?

A California Senate bill proposes a new way to solve the teacher shortage: Let them keep their state income tax.

California is struggling to recruit and retain teachers as baby boomers retire and meager starting salaries do little to attract young people to the profession. Making matters worse, nearly one in three teachers leave the profession in the first seven years, according to the California Teachers Association.

Senate Bill 807, introduced by Democratic Sens. Henry Stern of Los Angeles and Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton, offers an incentive for teachers to remain in the classroom. After teaching for five years, California educators would be exempt from paying a state income tax. The bill would also provide a tax deduction for the cost of attaining a teaching credential. The Legislature has not yet calculated the estimated loss in tax revenue to the state if the measure is approved.

“The teaching profession is critical to California’s economic success and impacts every vocation and profession in the state,” Stern said in a statement. “SB 807 addresses the immediate teacher shortage and sends a loud and clear message across the state and nation: California values teachers.”

The shortage has forced the state to hire thousands of teachers without full credentials by issuing temporary permits, waivers or intern credentials.

EdVoice, a nonprofit advocating for school choice and other education changes, sponsored the bill. The California Teachers Association expects to take a position on SB 807 at its state council meeting later this month.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna