Maine is already a beautiful place to live, but now it is positioning itself as a beautiful place to work as well. The northernmost US state will now help you pay off your student loans if you there to work.
Actually, the program began in 2008, but was only targeted to retain students graduating in the state of Maine who continue to live and work in the state. It is now being used as a tool to attract people to move to Maine and join the workforce.
Officials in Maine discovered that, even though they draw about 36 million tourists annually to their great state, they are not retaining enough permanent residents to fulfill their workforce needs. What do you do when you need to sell your state to people? You offer them incentives.
The incentive that the state of Maine came up with was offering the tax credit to people who move to the state and become members of the workforce. If you move to Maine and get a job, the amount of money you spend toward your student paying your student loan debt each year will be subtracted from your state income taxes.
So, if you pay $2,000 toward your student loan and owe the state $2,400 in taxes, you will end up paying $400 to Maine in state taxes.
The program goes one step further by offering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors additional incentives. If their student loan payments outweigh their taxes, these individuals could even get a check back from the government. Non-STEM majors would simply owe $0 in this situation.
Will Recent College Graduates Flock To Maine?
The driving factor for the switch from offering the tax credit from only existing residents to new residents comes from the demographics of the state itself.
Maine’s population age is one of the oldest in the nation at a median of 44. This means that the state needs to start bringing in young, fresh minds that will build careers and lives there.
Officials from Maine believe that the financial investment to get this younger demographic to the state will pay off and is just a part of the culture of Maine itself. It shows that they are appreciative of their workforce and willing to invest in it for their future.
With student loan debt being the heaviest burden on recent college graduates, there is no doubt that many recent college graduates and even some millennials that still have student loan debt will think about taking advantage of the tax program.
With the F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence/Retire Early) movement still in high gear, the thought of being able to pay off your student loan debt faster and find more incentives to build a career seems enticing.