Graduate retention will revive Ohio’s economy

After a full year of double-digit unemployment and more than 200,000 Ohio jobs lost in 2009 alone, it is clear that in the interstate competition for jobs and economic growth, Ohio has fallen vastly behind.

To make matters worse, 70 percent of Ohio’s students plan to leave the state after graduation. How will Ohio keep up in the 21st century economy if we lose our brightest talent, who will take their ideas, capital and jobs to other states?

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the higher the education level an individual obtains, the less likely they are to remain in Ohio following graduation. In fact, roughly two-thirds of all doctoral graduates in the rapidly developing science and technology fields abandoned Ohio from 1991 to 2001. Ohio’s rampant loss of our brightest and most promising individuals sheds light on our bleak economy and our inability to find a way to manage high-tech global demands.

In an era of rapidly expanding computer software and biomedical industries, Ohio is trapped in a solely agricultural and manufacturing loop-rendering our economy hostile, sluggish and unattractive.

Four of America’s 10 fastest-dying cities are here in the Buckeye state, according to Forbes magazine. Canton, Cleveland, Dayton and Youngstown have experienced population loss and paltry economic activity in recent years-especially as more and more young people relocate to better business climates like Austin, Denver and Seattle, where they can pursue high-paying careers of the new generation.

These competitive cities are benefiting from our homegrown talent that has grown tired of struggling to find a job, meager wages and heavy taxes that put too much strain on their wallets.

As a state, Ohio needs to be able to adapt to the rapidly changing global economy and welcome new industries to our borders.

However, years of overtaxing and wasteful government spending have created a state economy where businesses cannot thrive and the population base is not able to hold up a high-tech market.

House Bill 144, which was introduced in April 2009, would fix this problem by helping to retain recent college graduates and encourage them to live and start their careers in Ohio.

If enacted, it will offer a five-year income tax credit for those recent graduates who choose to invest their talents and capital in our state, rather than taking their ambition elsewhere.

House Bill 144 is just one of many crucial steps to repair the business climate and encourage economic activity.

We can no longer afford to accept the high-tax status quo or procrastinate the difficult decisions that inevitably will have to be made. It is long overdue that state leaders incite a fundamental transformation to the way Ohio does business, so we will no longer be considered a dying state, but one of innovation and promise.

As state representative of the 66th Ohio House District and your family’s voice in the People’s House, I will continue to fight for a business-friendly, graduate-friendly, state economy that accommodates both our industries of the past as well as the high-tech industries of tomorrow.