A year ago, NJBIA released its outmigration study detailing the significant economic impact of taxpayers leaving the state.
Our data was used to drive a discussion about the state’s changing economy over the past decade and the need to begin the process of comprehensive tax reform in order to make New Jersey competitive and affordable.
The data won the day and, as a result, estate and retirement tax relief are now being phased in as part of the most far-reaching tax reform program enacted by the Legislature and Governor in decades.
The impact of these tax reductions, particularly the Estate Tax elimination, was immediate. CPAs, who in the past had been telling their clients to move out of New Jersey because of the tax, are now telling their clients to consider staying.
One of the more surprising results of last year’s outmigration study was the fact that Millennials are the largest outmigration demographic, with more than 800,000 people between 18 and 34 years old moving from New Jersey to a different state between 2007 and 2014.
New Jersey also has the nation’s highest outmigration rate among graduating high school seniors going to college, with 65 percent choosing to pursue higher education elsewhere.
There is a great concern that once these students leave, a significant number will not return. And, if they do (or for those who did not leave in the first place), New Jersey is the No. 2 state (behind Hawaii) for Millennials living back home with their parents.
We must understand what is driving this dynamic and take corrective action. After all, Millennials represent the next generation of employees who we are counting on to keep our economy moving forward. New Jersey makes a hefty investment in its future workforce, spending approximately $19,000 per student on K-12 education, which puts us at the top of the list in per-pupil spending.
The education students receive here in New Jersey is good, but if 65 percent of our students are going to pursue higher education elsewhere, where is our return on investment?
In order to dig deep on these issues, NJBIA is working with our academic leaders and our members to develop a solutions-based platform to begin to address Millennial outmigration. This platform will launch with our March 21 summit, “The Education Equation: Investing in New Jersey’s Future Workforce.”
Panel discussion topics will include pathways to affordable career building; strategizing New Jersey’s next steps in higher education; Millennial housing; and a keynote by Chuck Underwood, a nationally renowned speaker who will talk about how businesses can use generational workforce strategies to recruit, train, manage, retain, and stem the outmigration of workers, especially Millennials.
This action summit, which will be held at the National Conference Center in East Windsor, will explore issues that are influencing the outmigration of our Millennials and explore solutions aimed at keeping the brain power in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s success as an innovation state is reliant on ensuring we can deliver a highly skilled workforce. To attract the kind of businesses that will drive the economy for 10, 20 or even 50 years into the future, we need to make this state a place where the employees of the future want to live and, more importantly, can afford to live.