Bil Browning

Brown proposes program to plug "Brain Drain"

Filed By Bil Browning | October 11, 2006 9:39 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Democrats, local politics, Russell Brown

In an effort to plug Indiana's "Brain Drain" State Senate District 31 Candidate Russell Brown recently proposed the creation of the Indiana Graduate Retention and Attraction Tax (GREAT) Credit. The program would provide tax incentives for graduates of Indiana's public and private colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools to remain in Indiana after receiving their degree.

"A more educated population is vital to the future economic success of Indiana. As I look at the incredible public and private educational institutions located our state, I began to search for an idea to retain those institution's graduates after they have completed a degree," Brown said. "The GREAT Credit has been warmly received as I have talked to Hoosier students and parents and is a first step in slowing the massive export of talented college graduates from our state."

The GREAT Credit would provide a multi-year income tax break to any graduate of an Indiana college or university the first three years after the receipt of a bachelors degree. A break would also be available to students receiving associate, masters or doctoral degrees. Hoosier employers would be provided a corresponding corporate tax break for each Hoosier graduate hired and retained for three years.

Brown estimates his proposal would cost approximately $75 million per year when fully implemented, a cost that would be recouped through increased economic activity.

"I have run into hundreds of college graduates who have left Indiana immediately after graduation, only to return home a few years later. Though we are always happy to have Hoosiers return home, wouldn't it be great if we could get them to stay in the first place?"

"People say college graduates don't stay in Indiana because there are no jobs. I believe this is a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma. Do college grads not stay because there are no jobs or are there no jobs because college grads don't stay? The GREAT Credit attempts to solve both of these dilemmas by providing a financial incentive to graduates and businesses to encourage students to stay, and work in Indiana. It is an important investment in the future of Indiana."

Brown is a long-time public servant, who has served under both the O'Bannon and Kernan administrations. He is currently pursuing his law degree at Indiana University in Indianapolis and is employed by Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe. Brown lives in the city of Lawrence with his wife of seven years, Emily, an English teacher at Warren Central High School.

Located within Indianapolis/Marion County, Senate District 31 includes portions of eastern Center township, the northern portion of Warren township and a large portion of Lawrence township, including the city of Lawrence.

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I know this is only part of the problem, but if the State would be more hospitable to it's GLBT population, then perhaps more graduates would stay. As a member of the Indianapolis Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays), I am one of the few parents whose child has opted to stay in Indiana. Most of our other members' children, many of whom are top scholars, have left because of the homophobia rampant in this state. Perhaps if the fair State of Indiana would focus its attention on retaining some of the best and brightest, and stopped its relentless drive to deny rights and privileges to its GLBT population, then we wouldn't seem so backward to the rest of the country.