New legislation that would create incentives to keep Ohio’s brightest and best employment candidates in the state after college graduation is an excellent, innovative idea.
Under the bill, graduates of any Ohio college, public or private, who take a full-time job in the state would be exempt from state income tax for up to three years. The goal of the legislation proposed by Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton is to recruit and retain Ohio college students.
Further, businesses that offer paid college internships would receive a tax break; the state also would offer up to 100 merit-based scholarships of $25,000 to out-of-state students; and more money would be added to Ohio’s college grant fund for students with associate degrees pursuing bachelor degrees.
Students would have to be in the top 5 percent of their graduating class and pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to receive the out-of-state scholarships.
The goal “is to incentivize Ohio’s younger population to live, learn, work and prosper in Ohio vs. leaving the state after graduation,” said Cross, chairman of the House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education.
Indeed, Ohio must find new ways to attract young talent to come to Ohio or stay in Ohio. That is evident by population numbers that are not keeping pace with other states.
Ohio’s slow growth is affecting us in many ways — not the least of which is on Capitol Hill in D.C.
As a result of 2020 U.S. Census data, Ohio next year will lose one of its 16 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. That’s because the new census figures show the Buckeye State’s population grew only 2.3 percent since 2010, far less than the 7.4 percent average growth nationwide. That means when new maps were drawn, each Ohio congressional district’s representation was diluted. Each district now will be comprised of an average of 787,000 Ohioans — about 66,226 more than past districts.
The trend is not new. At one time, in fact, Ohio had 24 congressional districts, but because of continuing population shifts in other parts of the country, it’s down to 15.
The goal of Ohio’s leaders certainly should be to find a way to reverse that trend and start increasing the number of congressional districts in Ohio.
Cross has not offered a specific cost estimate for his proposed measure, but he said it should be weighed against the potential revenue gain of people staying in the state or coming to Ohio as a result of the incentives.
Bravo to Cross and any other state leaders who are thinking outside the box on this topic.
Frankly, we all should be working to find ways to help Ohio better compete with other states when it comes to retaining talent, growing population and preventing what is commonly called “brain drain.”
From our vantage point, this legislation sounds like a very good first step.