I finally got around to reading November's issue of the Fort Wayne Reader. It had an article about a program called "Brain Gain" in which recent college graduates with degrees in engineering or computer sciences who agree to remain employed in Allen County get part of their college loans paid off.
$70, 000 of John Crawford's own money and $62,000 from the County Income Development Income Tax is being used to fund this project. Only less than half of it comes from taxpayer funds, but expect that ratio to get worse.
Only three people are selected each year to recieve the grant. Of the thousands of college graduates in Allen County, exactly three are recieving $2,500 a year for the next four years as incentive not to leave Allen County.
Is 2.5K all that is keeping them here? Either they all like it here and would stay even if they weren't being paid or they are going to leave the moment a company offers them a 3k annual raise to move to Durham.
What John Crawford does with his own money is his own business, but using county funds is a unjustified waste. The best financial incentive to remain in Indiana is the low cost of living. I am renting a house for $350 a month here, far less than what I would pay to rent a studio apartment in New York City. The crime rate and climate are about equally bad if I'm not mistaken. The best way for the government to keep the cost of living low is to lower taxes. Government scholarships artificially drive up the cost of tuition because colleges know what ever they charge it will get paid somehow. It keeps lower income kids with low grades out of college while rich kids with bad grades get in because their dads are contributing alumni.
We can also look at the intangible reasons why people who can afford to live elsewhere decide to live here. I seem to recall that during my senior year, many of the overacheivers on their way to college vowed to get as far away as possible and never come back. So I shall put the question out there. What the hell are all of you still doing here? Do you want to know why I still stay? I heard about a guy who just got released from federal prison and then threw a brick through a post office window. He immediately turned himself in, then asked the judge for a prison sentence. It seems that he had spent so much time in prison that he couldn't be comfortable anywhere else. Its the same with me and Fort Wayne. I spent 25 years here.