Indiana wants to outsource its state lottery in hopes of generating more revenue to invest in higher education. While the stated goal is to stem the brain drain, the money would be used to attract better faculty to state universities. I would like to see the study that indicates improving research at instate schools will keep college graduates from leaving. I see a strategy to improve in-migration, but the politicians still don't know how to sell the policy honestly to voters.
Heading east to Ohio, a letter to the Newark Advocate highlights the policy conundrum of investing in local human capital during an era of increasing geographic mobility:
A column by state Rep. Jay Hottinger said we have "brain drain" in Ohio. A great percentage of graduates leave Ohio within six months of graduating. The ones who remain do the less-demanding jobs, marry and have a family. Both parents must work in order to live a decent life. Our tax dollars have gone for nothing, except to make senior citizens lives miserable.
As a senior citizen whose schooling was not in Newark, I do not feel I should pay for some child who doesn't give a darn about me.
As demographics shift to favor empty nest households, the money spent to address the brain drain issue will come under more fire. The parochial forms of funding education are horribly out-dated. Politicians are not advancing a strong case as to why residents should pay higher taxes. The red herring of young adults leaving in droves is shameful and indicative of political impotence. I don't blame voters for thinking they are being asked to consider another boondoggle.
In Illinois, the political ineptitude is fomenting an impressive backlash. The concerned citizen notes that the government largess is failing to improve the local economy. Once again, the inability to justify all the tax dollars is stupefying. Citizens are getting tired of hearing or reading that more money will solve the population decline eroding state pride. Are there any politicians with enough courage to sell the people on a viable policy to improve the economy? I would be happy with a few politicos who understand that the concern about the out-migration of graduates is bogus.