Raleigh, N.C. — Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson asked lawmakers Monday to increase North Carolina's competitiveness in teacher pay and recruitment by exempting public school teachers from having to pay any personal state income taxes.
"Much has been said about the need for North Carolina to become more competitive with our surrounding states when it comes to corporate income taxes," Atkinson said in a statement. "Those supporting a cut in corporate income taxes say that the reduction will attract more corporations and then we will have more jobs for North Carolinians. I propose another reduction: Exempt all public school teachers from having to pay any personal state income taxes."
North Carolina ranks 46th nationwide in public school teacher pay, with a starting salary of $30,800. Atkinson said it takes a teacher five years to reach more than $31,000 a year in salary.
Although Gov. Pat McCrory called for a 1 percent raise for teachers in his budget proposal, neither the House nor the Senate included it in their spending plans. The two chambers are now working out differences to come up with a compromise budget.
Giving teachers an income tax exemption would give them more take-home pay, making North Carolina salaries more competitive with those offered in neighboring states, Atkinson said.
"Let's keep our competent teachers in North Carolina classrooms. Let's position North Carolina to be a more attractive state for new teachers. Exempt them from paying personal state income taxes," she said.