Practical--and promising--solutions for Ohio's brain drain

Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bill aimed at stemming Ohio's brain drain and keeping college graduates in the state after they earn their degrees. The legislation would allow Ohio college graduates, whether or not they are an Ohio native, who obtain a job in the Buckeye State to have their earned income exempted from state income taxation for five years.??

The bill's co-sponsor, Rep. Cheryl Grossman, says 40 percent of Ohio's college graduates leave the state after graduation.?? That figure could be much higher, depending on the particular college and community.?? For example, a 2009 Fordham Institute survey of students at top Ohio colleges found that 58 percent of students planned to leave the state after graduation (a whopping 79 percent of out-of-state students said they intended to leave Ohio, and 51 percent of native Ohio students were set on departure).??

But that same survey also showed support for incentives like the one proposed in House Bill 258.?? When offered a menu of incentives designed to encourage young college graduates to stay in Ohio, respondents to our survey found ???A state income tax credit of up to $3,000 per year for 10 years for college graduates who stay in Ohio??? most appealing (65 percent).

The bill, which is currently pending in committee, has the support of the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents Jim Petro. Petro cites (subscription required) the economic benefit of keeping graduates in the state:

It's a simple calculation. Right now Ohio has 26% of its workforce have baccalaureate degrees. Across the country, the higher the portion of the baccalaureate degrees in the state, the higher the per capita income. It's a direct relationship. For every one percent we increase the percentage of baccalaureate degrees ... involve, in our best estimates, over $2 billion in annual economic activity added on.

The recently passed state operating budget also included a measure aimed at attracting native Ohioans who have left the state to return.?? Ohio graduates who have left the state can return and attend college at in-state tuition rates.

??-Emmy Partin

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