House Democrats Want To Offer Tax Break To STEM Students

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath wants to offer tax breaks to Indiana's top STEM graduates to keep them in the state after graduation.

computer chip

Photo: flickr (Onio-n)

Pelath's proposal would grant tax breaks to the state's top 1,000 STEM graduates.

1,000 Indiana college graduates a year would be exempt from income tax under a proposal from House Democrats. Minority Leader Scott Pelath’s (D- Michigan City) bill seeks to slow Indiana’s “brain drain” by offering a deal to the state‘s top science, technology, engineering and math students: if you stay in the state for five years after college, you pay no taxes for that time.

Pelath argues that could be a powerful incentive for the kind of workers states most want contributing to their economy. Pelath says democrats are reaching out to Republicans by taking a page from the GOP’s tax cut playbook.

“They believe taxation is important,” Pelath said. “So let’s take that approach and apply it to something I think we all agree is a problem: after we pay for our kids’ college, are they going to stay here and live near us? I think that’s something we want. Particularly when they’re stars, academically.”

Governor Pence and House and Senate Republicans are in the earliest stages of negotiations over proposed cuts in the business personal property tax or the corporate income tax. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says Republican won’t dismiss the proposal.

“I really appreciated Minority Leader Pelath’s tone, his conciliatory nature of trying to work together,” Bosma said. “It’s very consistent with how we’ve worked together over the past year, we’ll take a look at his proposal’s and his team’s proposals and have a good discussion about them.”

The Commission for Higher Education would work out the details of how to rank the top one thousand students.

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