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Competitive Jobs Can Keep Graduates in Ohio

Photo by randysonofrobert

Ohio has a wealth of bright, talented students, but due to our burdensome tax rates and poor business environment, our state has trouble holding on to our most promising individuals. Approximately 70 percent of Ohio’s students plan to eventually leave the state after graduation in search of better job markets. In 2007 alone, Ohio suffered a net loss of nearly 7,000 young people between the ages of 25 and 34, according to a study conducted by the Farkas Duffett Research (FDR) Group. To ensure our state’s future, we need to retain these young, educated professionals in order to stimulate economic growth and become a major player in the global economy.

It is especially difficult to retain our young people when they do not believe that Ohio’s economy is competitive with other states. The FDR Group found that only 39 percent of students surveyed believe that Ohio will become a high-tech, innovative economy. Today’s graduates face one of the worst job markets in Ohio’s history, and we need to have jobs and opportunities that young professionals will be enthusiastic about upon graduation—specifically jobs that require a college degree. In other words, we need to keep the jobs we have in Ohio and bring new opportunities into the state as well.

In the Ohio House, my colleagues and I are working to improve Ohio’s economy and create a job market that students can be eager to explore. Through the ten “Future of Ohio” jobs bills, our caucus has aimed to assist small businesses, create jobs and increase Ohio’s technical capability. When enacted, these proposals will provide greater long-term revenue for the state and local government by stimulating job growth and attracting fresh business prospects.

One of the bills in this package strives to stop the hemorrhage of students from Ohio’s borders. House Bill 144 grants a five-year state income tax credit to college graduates who reside in Ohio. Graduates are eligible for the credit one year after they receive their degree; however, they can defer the credit if they decide to pursue a more advanced degree.

According to the FDR Group’s study, 65 percent of surveyed students would consider staying in Ohio if they were offered a state income tax credit, and for this reason, I believe that House Bill 144 deserves a closer look by the House majority. As legislators, my colleagues and I are doing our part to keep college graduates in Ohio and to improve our economy in innovative ways. Despite our efforts, none of our “Future of Ohio” jobs bills, including House Bill 144, have received a vote in committee or on the House floor.

In order to revive Ohio’s stagnant economy and make our state nationally competitive, lawmakers need to make every effort to stop this mass exodus of jobs, businesses and people. As we move into a new decade, we would be remiss to overlook the importance of building a strong, educated workforce that will make Ohio a contender in the 21st century economy. With 12.2 percent of our neighbors in Lucas County unemployed, it is my continuing priority as your state representative to create jobs and restore Ohio’s ability to compete for economic opportunities and growth.


Photo by randysonofrobert.