Walker floats tax credit for college grads who stay in state to combat student debt

To bolster Wisconsin’s struggling aging workforce and fight student debt, Gov. Scott Walker is proposing a $5,000 tax credit to college graduates who stay and work in the state after finishing their education.

Image By: Graphic by Jade Sheng

As Wisconsin struggles to retain young graduates, Gov. Scott Walker has proposed implementing a new tax credit for those who choose to work and live in the state after their in-state schooling comes to an end.

In recent years, Wisconsin has routinely ranked among the bottom of Midwest states in retaining millennials, and as a result has significant workforce shortages in some sectors.

Walker, who floated the idea last month at an alumni event, has officially released a plan to give up to $1,000 annually for five years to state graduates to combat student debt.

“The New Graduate Tax Credit ensures Wisconsin’s graduates and Wisconsin residents receiving their postsecondary education out of state have an incentive to stay in Wisconsin, or return home to Wisconsin upon graduation,” the governor’s policy paper reads.

To receive the new tax credit, Walker proposes that a graduate must have attended a university in the state, received at least a two-year degree, lived here for at least a year already and be earning income.

Though the proposal emphasizes the credit’s potential benefit to those with student debt, a whopping 67 percent of graduates, it would also be available to those without debt.

The plan to encourage young workers to stay in Wisconsin comes as part of a larger effort, as just earlier this year the state OK’d a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to attract millenials from surrounding states, like Illinois and Minnesota.

Walker has emphasized new education policy proposals — like a renewed tuition freeze — in his reelection campaign, especially since Democrats selected state Superintendent Tony Evers, who has long accused Walker of inaction on college affordability, as his opponent.

“As a member of the Board of Regents, Tony has seen firsthand the damage Scott Walker has inflicted on higher education in Wisconsin,” Evers’ campaign manager Maggie Gau told The Daily Cardinal. “He’s cut more from our UW System than almost any other Governor in the country. When other states began reinvesting in higher education, Wisconsin chose not to and it’s resulted in fewer classes and quality educators for our kids.

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