Tax breaks for grads should be expanded, more enticing

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It’s been reported before that our state has a hard time with skilled or educated employee retention.

For the past couple of years estimates show that not only are we losing population, but also recent college graduates.

Of note is that a number of these graduates received their degrees from Mississippi-based universities. Once their time in college is over, some of those graduates find work elsewhere. But it may not be for the reasons we think.

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I too expected to find work elsewhere upon graduation from the University of Southern Mississippi, but was fortunate enough to stay close to home.

You see my plans to move away were not because I wanted to move away. They were primarily based on the fact that there are not enough jobs for every Mississippi graduate. It was my expectation that in order to find a job in the field I chose, I would be forced to work in at least another city, if not another state.

So the first step in this plan should be to create more Mississippi based jobs. Combined with the lack of jobs, there’s another reason this effort to combat what is called “brain drain” needs improvement, there’s no tax incentive for those who attend a two year college, or those who obtain skilled labor training. And there’s another factor in this bill that should be addressed. Currently, the bill only provides a tax break on state income tax. Any tax break is surely appreciated, but most recent college graduates won’t make enough for that reduction to cancel out the expense of student loan payments. A more inviting offer to those recent graduates would be to pay off all or a large portion of their students loans if they have them. If for some reason a student earned their degree debt free, including a small federal tax break in addition to the state cut would certainly be icing on the cake.