A bill that passed the Mississippi House could give a tax credit to recent college graduates who decide to work in the state for five years, but there are plenty of conditions.

House Bill 816— also known as the Mississippi Educational Talent Recruitment Act — would provide recent graduates (within two years) from a four-year university or a post-graduate program such as medical school who live and work in Mississippi a rebate equal to all or a portion of the amount of their state income tax liability.

It’s designed to combat the “brain drain” of young, college-age professionals from the state but the conditions to qualify for the credit are numerous.

Community college graduates aren’t covered by the rebate program. Also, someone wishing to participate would be required to apply for the credit with the Mississippi Department of Revenue, which would review the application and determine if the applicant is eligible.

Then they’d have to reside in the state for five years to receive a 50 percent rebate of their state income tax liability.

If they own property in the state (either residential or commercial), establish a business registered with the Secretary of State’s office or serve as a licensed teacher, they can receive a rebate equal to their full state income tax liability.

The bill is authored by state Rep. Trey Lamar (R-Senatobia) and passed the House on February 8 by a 111-2 margin.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the data is mixed. Estimates by the Census Bureau for 2017 indicate that the state has 389,103 adults between the ages of 25 to 34, with 88,496 possessing at least a four-year degree or better.

Among the ages 18 to 24 cohort, the bureau estimates the state has 303,818 residents in 2017, with 18,568 of them with at least a four-year degree.

In 2010, the state had 378,363 residents between the ages of 25 to 34, with 78,699 of them with at least a four-year degree. Among those ages 18 to 24, there were 307,897, with 15,394 with at least a bachelor’s degree.

The number of residents ages 18 to 24 decreased by 1.32 percent between 2010 and 2017, while those in the older range (ages 25 to 34) increased by 2.83 percent over the same time frame.

The state, as a whole, had its population decline by 3,000 residents between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 and was the third time in four years the population has declined.

A similar bill, also authored by state Rep. Lamar, failed in the Senate last year.