Republican lawmaker Jon Cross (R-Kenton) has proposed a bill to exempt all Ohio college graduates from state income tax for up to three years if they are fully employed in the state.
On Monday, Cross attended a press conference at the Statehouse where he expressed the need to increase the number of people who choose to live and work in Ohio — something that the Graduate and Retain Ohio’s Workforce (GROW) Act can address.
“We talk a lot about the workforce right here in this building at the Statehouse. But how can we actually put creative ideas and really good solutions on paper that actually will help with recruitment and retention?” Cross asked at a press conference Monday morning.
“This is an important and catalytic legislation,” Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson said. “We are deeply grateful to have such a champion of not only higher education but also the future of this state.”
Johnson remarked that increasing the number of college graduates choosing to stay within the state will boost revenue and reduce the need for social services. Despite the cost that these programs can incur, state officials believe that the return on investment would be exponential.
Apart from the tax break, Cross stated that the multi-pronged legislation includes the following provisions:
- 100 $25,000 merit-based scholarships for STEM high school students residing out of state
- 100 percent refundable state income tax payment for all Ohio college graduates whose employer is based in Ohio (up to three years)
- 30 percent tax credit on paid wages for businesses that offer paid internships, apprenticeships, and co-ops
- Additional financial assistance for associate degree holders pursuing a bachelor’s degree (through the Ohio College Opportunity Grant)
“[The GROW Act is] going to advance the longstanding collaboration between our higher education institutions and the co-ops, internships and the opportunities for our students to get a leg up and a first step toward a thriving and productive career,” Johnson said.
While the legislation has just been presented at the General Assembly, it has already received bipartisan support. Cross said that his bill could bring the two parties together to take actionable steps in ensuring that Ohio becomes a prime business destination in the future.
“Part of this is also putting Ohio front and center amongst all of our neighboring states, and around the country, that this is the best place to invest, the best place to live and work, and I stand by that 100%,” Cross said.