New bill proposed to provide tax cuts to teachers

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – HB1833 is a tax-cut proposal brought by primary sponsors State Senator Ben Gilmore and State Representative Howard Beaty, Jr.  It is a proposal that allows teachers to write-off a portion of their net income for paying state income taxes. 

The proposal would allow for deductions as follows:

  • In 2021, allow for a $12,500 deduction
  • In 2022, allow for a $25,000 deduction
  • In 2023, allow for a $37,500 deduction
  • In 2024, allow for a $50,000 deduction

Gilmore believes a tax write-off is a better way to give teachers raises, “The best way I think to give them a pay raise and pay for it but you know without basically having a shift monies and have to worry about how we do that where we pull money from an unfunded mandate.”

Dusty Clark is a social sciences and economics teacher with Sylvan Hills High School but has taught in smaller districts in the past.  He says the bump in take-home pay for teachers will have a ripple effect in quality of life for them like possibly getting better insurance through the district, “You’re talking you know knocking out income tax that can pay for and better insurance premium for some of those teachers.”

Clark also believes this is a recruitment tool for smaller districts and that newer teachers might try going to a smaller district if the pay is a little better, “I think it’s a plus for the state overall because it gives incentive for those people that are graduating college go in the other parts of the state and you know pursue jobs in the areas that aren’t as is no attracted to say central Arkansas or Northwest Arkansas.”

Primary sponsor of HB1833 State Representative Howard Beaty, Jr. believes this will level the playing field across the state, especially when districts can afford to pay more than the $50,000 threshold down the line, “That’s savings in that money going to the educator will go a lot longer here and in Southeast Arkansas than in Little Rock.”

Clinton Schools superintendent Jay Chalk is supportive of the bill also.  He agrees with giving teachers some extra benefits but not at the behest of individual school districts, “With an incentive to help our teachers when it’s not an unfunded mandate from the state for districts helps us out tremendously.”

Educators say they have felt unappreciated, especially during the pandemic, but this newest proposal has them feeling more upbeat, Chalk said, “Anything to help them to attract, recruit, and keep them there we’re in favor of and we’re all will always before and we’re very appreciative of that. “

The bill states that teachers would not be able to take advantage of this tax write-off if they change employers, and that would apply for the current tax year and the next year after. First-year teachers would also not be able to use the write-off.

The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee and so far does not have a fiscal impact statement. 

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