Kevin over at Ohio Politics Online has up a post this morning discussing GOP Ohio Treasurer candidate Josh Mandel’s proposal for fixing Ohio’s “brain drain” problem.
Part of the answer is to reform Ohio’s tax code. For the past year, I’ve been working across party lines with Rep. Jay Goyal (D-Mansfield) on legislation that would offer college graduates who pledge to live in Ohio an income tax credit of up to $3,000 per year for up to ten years.
Kevin goes on to ask a poll question about whether this is needed to stop the brain drain, or whether it’s simply a gimmick.
My answer? It’s both.
Mandel is right. Sort of.
As I mentioned back on June 16th, Ohio needs a major revision of the tax code. But not necessarily in the way Mandel proposes. While I’m all for cutting taxes, there is a much bigger fish to fry. Our business tax climate is the 47th worst in the nation. That climate has been primarily responsible for damaging the state’s economy, making jobs go elsewhere, and motivating Ohio’s young people to leave.
What Mandel’s plan does is provide an extra 3k to young Ohioans that stick around. So the question for Ohio’s young people is this: IF I get a job in Ohio, will it pay me enough to make accepting the tax credit worth it?
See, that’s the problem. Thanks to the tax climate there simply aren’t jobs for Ohioans. And on top if it, jobs out of state may very well pay better than the Ohio job the young person settles for, thereby making the 3k tax credit moot.
The question for Ohio’s leaders is this: How do we create a market for young people in Ohio?
To create that market, you need to create jobs that are attractive to young people.
To create those jobs, you need to fix the business tax climate.
Close, Rep. Mandel. But not quite.