Several locations in the US are offering moving incentives to lure new residents. Many parts of the US are experiencing population loss. States and cities that are losing population face a number of critical issues such as a declining tax base, reduced economic activity, and property devaluation.
Alternatively, other parts of the US are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of job opportunities available in their area. The US economy continues to expand, even after reaching a milepost in July 2019 as the longest expansion in history.
As a result, many state and local governments are implementing policies and programs designed to attract new residents. These initiatives vary greatly in scope and implementation. However, all of them are designed to further bolster the state, city, or region’s ability to sustainably grow—or at least stem the tide of population loss.
States Offering Moving Incentives
At least three states are offering moving incentives to lure new residents. However, the reasons are dramatically different.
Kansas Moving Incentives
Kansas as a state may be improving economically as a whole, but several counties have been experiencing long-term job reductions. The state’s ten largest counties grew employment by 15.3% from 1997 to 2018, while the other 95 counties experienced employment declines of 4.1%.
To draw new residents to counties that are experiencing decline, Kansas has identified nearly 80 counties as “Rural Opportunity Zones” that are allowed to offer one or both of the following moving incentives:
- Kansas state income tax waiver for up to 5 years
- Student loan repayments up to $15,000 over 5 years
Maine Moving Incentives
The population of Maine is rapidly aging. By 2026, approximately one quarter of the state’s population will be 65 years of age or older. This will place Maine as the state with the highest proportion of residents in that age group in the nation. Fitch Ratings calls this status “super aged” and with good reason. Older populations tend to work less as well as spend less, negatively impacting state finances in several ways.
To draw younger residents, the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit helps recent college graduates working in the state by subtracting the amount these workers pay in student loans from what they owe in state income tax.
- Recent college graduate worker owes $2,500 in state taxes
- Worker has already paid $2,000 in student loans during the tax year
- Opportunity Maine Tax Credit applied leaves only $500 owed in state income taxes
Vermont Moving Incentives
Vermont is experiencing strong growth in jobs throughout the state. As a result, the state’s program pays new residents to relocate to the state, with varying moving incentives based on location. For cities such as Burlington, new residents may be able to receive up to $5,000. For those relocating to smaller cities and towns, the incentive may be up to $7.500. These new policies are modeled after a current policy that reimburses remote workers up to $10,000 if they relocate to Vermont.
Vermont has been highly successful in promoting economic development. Vermont’s Economic Development Authority finances a wide range of growth initiatives. The state has also been active in promoting new technologies, green businesses, and clean energy initiatives.
Cities Offering Moving Incentives
Just as states have various reasons to offer moving incentives, so do several cities. Some cities are experiencing difficult economic challenges, while others need workers to fill current and future job openings. Several cities with moving incentives include:
Goal is to reduce property abandonment with loans for down payments on homes that have been marked vacant for a year or more through its Vacants to Value Booster incentive. Loans are forgivable over a 5 year period.
Goal is to attract residents to become homeowners and landowners. Plots of improved land (streets, utilities) are offered free for single-family home construction.
Goal is to draw new residents with a residential home building rebate program. Participants can receive up to $12,000 in cash rebates.
Goal is to attract residents to become homeowners and landowners. Marne’s Free Lot program is for conventional home construction or modular.
New Haven, Connecticut
Goal is to draw new residents with a significant number of moving incentives including:
- Up to $10,000 interest-free loans to new homeowners
- Up to $30,000 to make energy saving upgrades to homes
- Loans are 100% forgivable if residents remain a certain length of time
- New Haven Promise will cover in-state college tuition for students who graduate from New Haven public schools
St. Clair, Michigan
Goal is to attract recent college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, arts, or mathematics. Program offers up to $15,000 in student loan repayments.
Goal is to attract remote workers to the city with the Tulsa Remote program. Participants get access to discounted housing, free utilities, shared working spaces, and those who remain for a year are eligible for a $10,000 cash stipend.
What Should Employers do About Location Moving Incentives?
US states and cities may offer moving incentives for new residents. As a result, companies that have growth initiatives may be able to leverage these moving incentives in their talent acquisition and relocation programs. Companies should examine their plans for corporate expansion to see if they are in or near areas that have moving incentives.
GMS’ team of corporate relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients understand how to leverage moving incentives to attract and retain talent. Our team can help your company by using industry best practices to design your relocation program. This will increase your company’s ability to attract and retain new employees.
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Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s interest in learning how it can leverage moving incentives to attract and retain talent, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.