Stephanie Comai, the head of Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency, recently pointed out a major flaw in Michigan’s economic recovery: “The talent gap is one of the biggest issues facing Michigan.” A key reason why this talent gap exists is that almost 40 percent of graduates of Michigan’s public universities leave the state after graduation. Instead of contributing to Michigan’s economy, our graduates are taking their talents elsewhere.

In order to maintain the strength of Michigan’s economic recovery, our state needs to reverse this trend and strengthen the pool of young talent that can help our businesses develop. To accomplish this goal, Michigan needs to create the right incentives for graduates of Michigan’s universities to remain in the state. That is why on Michigan’s House of Representatives needs to pass House Bill 4118.

If passed, this bill would provide up to $2,150 in annual tax breaks on student loans for graduates of Michigan universities who remain in the state for five years. Why, you might ask, is this the best way to address Michigan’s talent gap? Because there is one thing that all millennials agree on: college loans are a major burden.

The Class of 2014 was the most indebted in history, and the average college graduate now has nearly $30,000 in student loan debt. There is widespread need to alleviate the pressure of student loans among college graduates, and Michigan needs these graduates to remain in our state to help spur economic growth. This presents our state with a major opportunity. Signing HB 4118 into law would increase the pool of educated talent that our state needs while simultaneously reducing the burden of student debt.

The importance of this issue is resonating with millennials across the state. Earlier this year, a group of Michigan State University students testified before the Michigan Senate Finance Committee asking our legislature to address this issue. It’s time for our campus to pull our weight and make our voices heard. Students on campus need to let our representatives know we support this bill. The millennial generation has the opportunity to change the status quo in Washington. Now, we have the opportunity to take ownership for the policies that affect our state and our students.

Daniel Karr is an LSA sophomore.

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