According to today's paper,
"The program, watered down from a bill offered by Sen. Stephen Buehrer (R., Delta) and approved by the state Senate, offers cash grants to home buyers that would be second mortgages and would disappear after five years if the graduate stays in the state, automatically adding to the equity in the home. "There would be a cap on income, so we would not be giving a free lunch to people with half-a-million-dollar jobs,'' Mr. Buehrer said. His original plan had no income limits and would have offered larger grants to those earning a higher degree."
So we're going to take tax money from everyone who's already struggling to stay in our homes (remember all the political fretting over Ohio's highest foreclosure rates????) and just give it to recent college grads as a gift? How does that help all Ohioans?
The simple answer: it doesn't.
Taking tax dollars from some in order to redistribute it to others is exactly what Republicans in Columbus have been criticizing the federal government and the President for: redistribution of wealth by politicians who think they know better who 'deserves' the money. Yet they go and do the exact same thing in Ohio. Do they expect that we won't notice?
And, there are limits on income in order to qualify. If you're one of the few graduates making a good living (no more than $61,800 for a one or two-member family in Lucas County) - the kind of wage earners we really want to keep in the state - you don't qualify. This would be only for those of lesser incomes. As Buehrer explains, "There would be a cap on income, so we would not be giving a free lunch to people with half-a-million-dollar jobs."
Really? Do we really have college graduates going into 'half-a-million-dollar jobs' upon graduation? In Ohio? And if this is to keep college graduates in the state, we have to know which of those graduates are most likely to leave. What do you think: the ones with potential incomes above $50,000 or those with potential incomes below that amount? So if only lower earnings are eligible, will we really get the results touted?
They must think that keeping college graduates here for five years is more important than providing a state environment that is attractive to everyone. And since it's only for five years, how likely is it that these same grads will take this option, wait the five years, and then flee? Well, that's a good question - and one that isn't answered.
So how much will this cost? Again, a good question without an answer:
"The state budget contains no appropriation for the program and there are no estimates on the revised program's cost."
The paper uses an example of 3% of the purchase price of the home for the second mortgage bribe. So let's take a look at the 'incentive.'
If you're earning $60,000/year, it's likely you'd be looking at a house in the $150,000 range (based upon the suggestion that your mortgage be no more than 2.5 times your earnings). A 3% second mortgage on a home valued at $150,000 is $4,500. When you divide that by the 5 years, that's $900 per year - or $17 per week.
Would you stay in Ohio for $17 per week? Or might a recent college graduate weigh that $17/week against other factors and components of leaving the state and getting a better paying job in a more taxpayer-friendly state?
Being a college graduate, hopefully they've got the financial and educational wherewithal to effectively evaluate, for a 5-year period of time, the value of $17/week for staying in Ohio versus leaving the state and getting lower overall tax rates, higher earnings potential, better climate and other such amenities, including getting a good-paying job in the first place (something lacking in Ohio in many areas right now).
So what value does this unfunded program really have?
None - except for the politicians who want to claim they've 'given' us something, 'helped' keep people in Ohio and 'deserve' our vote as a result.