Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ohio: Flushing Money Down The Brain Drain

As long as Ohio politicians keep pushing this folly, I'm going to keep pointing out how misguided the policy is:

Bill Faith, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, raised concerns that the money might be diverted from housing programs for low-income residents and said he believes such a sum might be better used to prevent home foreclosures.

"The intent is solid," he said. "The problem is that it is 300 people, and we pay a greater amount based on the degree. If you're a doctor or lawyer, you're eligible for the maximum amount. I wonder whether we're really changing any behavior."

[Sen. Stephen Buehrer (R., Delta)], however, said that taxes generated for the state by those who might otherwise have fled would more than cover the program's cost.

There is no way of knowing if the brain drain initiative will pay for itself. The applicants for the home-ownership subsidy are entered into a lottery. How do we determine if the winner was on his or her way out of the state? What are the metrics for success?

Here is what Ohio should do:

  1. Determine Ohio's most pressing talent shortage that could be serviced with recent college graduates.
  2. Find the out-of-state programs that produce the most graduates in this field, say... the top-10 talent sources. Better yet, go after the talent in neighboring states. I hear everyone is leaving Michigan.
  3. Use financial incentives to target this demographic, encouraging them to move to Ohio.

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