Lawmaker Offers Tax Relief and Financial Aid to “GROW” Ohio
Ohio ceded one of its seats in Congress over the next decade thanks to growth rates that have not kept pace with other states in the country. Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, is trying to reverse this trend with legislation he calls the GROW Ohio Act, which aims to attract and then retain students.
Cross presented the plan on Monday flanked by numerous college presidents. Former Congressman Steve Stivers, who now heads the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, was also on hand to lend his support. The idea, summed up in the bill’s acronym, is simple: get a degree and keep the Ohio workforce. But Cross acknowledged that the state was facing a tough climb.
âWe had about 24, maybe more or less, members of Congress,â Cross said. âToday we have 15. That’s all you need to know. “
Cross’s legislation combines tax breaks with financial assistance to ease the transition from an Ohio college to a job in Ohio. The first tax break goes to companies offering paid internships or apprenticeships. Cross says they could write off about a third of those wages at tax time.
âThese companies are investing in these future employees,â Cross said. “And we want to have this tax credit, this 30% tax credit on salaries paid, not only to thank you, but, hopefully, to offer more internships and more opportunities at the place of work. job.”
The other tax incentive goes to workers – a zero state income tax for the first three years after graduation. The legislation has not been released, but Cross described the benefit as the one that would appear on an employee’s tax return.
âWe will offer you a 100% refundable state income tax year after year, year after year, for the first three years,â said Cross, âas a thank you for living here, for having learned here and work “.
In terms of financial aid, Cross’s legislation would allocate more money to the Ohio College Opportunity Grant specifically to help students who have completed a two-year degree enter a four-year degree program.
It is also considering a merit âscholarshipâ program open to foreign students. To qualify for one of the 100 $ 25,000 packages, students would need to be in the top 5% of their class and pursue a degree in STEM. This assistance, however, is a forgivable loan rather than a grant. Graduates would get a third pardon if they stayed in Ohio for one year, half if they stayed two years, and the funding would be fully forgiven after the third year.
Stivers applauds Cross’s proposal.
âWe need more people in Ohio. We have to get him to move here, âStivers said. âAnd he’s going to start by bringing in students from other states here. And it’s not just any college student who is the best and the brightest.
Ohio State President Kristina Johnson was one of seven principals to vote in favor of the measure and, like many of her colleagues, she stressed the importance of creating perspectives attractive employment opportunities for students upon graduation.
âWe’re attracting 11,300 more students here than we are donating to other states, and that’s great,â Johnson said. “What this act will do is make sure they stay and thrive in that particular state.”
She noted that while Ohio schools are recruiting more, the state as a whole ranks in the bottom third when it comes to residents with a bachelor’s degree or above.
But while Cross’s workforce and higher education efforts are designed for broad appeal, it’s hard not to notice the partisan advantage of many pieces of legislation that dominate the agenda in Canada. Columbus. The proposals on abortion, trans rights, guns, COVID-19 and redistribution are all fan-friendly, and that could discourage people outside that political camp from moving to Ohio.
Cross played down these concerns. He focused on the message his measure sends rather than the recent record of the General Assembly. Referring to the California and Texas legislatures, he argued that partisan fights are common across the country and that it’s more important for Ohio to “get creative” in his speech to students.
“Alabama offers free four-year Alabama scholarships, and who the hell wants to go to Alabama?” Croix asked. âI don’t. But there’s a pipeline of students in Ohio going to Alabama. And so we have to be competitive, we have to step up our game.â
As for the number of young people in their twenties deciding where to live based on their taxes, Cross admitted he couldn’t speak for every student, but had heard positive reactions from those he spoke with. He suggested the tax break could be a final push toward choosing Ohio, instead of the main reason for a recent graduate.
Cross doesn’t have a dollar figure for his plan, but he acknowledged that the price legislative researchers will pay on the bill is likely to be high. On the flip side, he argued that the money Ohio loses as students leave the state might outweigh the investment it offers.
Cross has suggested the measure will be bipartisan and he plans to get the ball rolling over the coming year. He hopes to pass the measure as a stand-alone bill, but noted that if there were any problems, it could possibly be incorporated into the next biennial budget.
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