The following was compiled from a press release.
State Senator Will Haskell (D-26) was recognized at the NewDEAL’s 11th annual Leaders Conference on Friday, Nov. 18, when the organization released the winners of its 2021 Ideas Challenge — a competition among rising and innovative state and local policymakers to propose the most effective solutions on an array of issues.
Policy experts voted for the proposals that would best improve Americans’ economic well-being and overall quality of life, and that would make government work more effectively to meet communities’ needs. Of more than 50 solutions submitted, a diverse panel of judges selected Haskell’s Student Loan Repayment Tax Credit idea as one of five winners in their respective categories.
Haskell’s idea was considered in the category of Expanding Access to Education.
Haskell’s Student Loan Repayment Tax Credit won in the “Expanding Access to Education” category, which included ideas that promote opportunities at every level — from early childhood to post-secondary — to put students on a pathway to success in college and career and, ultimately, to make the most of their abilities. Haskell’s submission involves a corporate tax credit for any business that helps to pay off the student loans of employees. The credit can be valued at up to $5,250 per year to sync with a federal tax benefit available to employers.
The other winning ideas (and categories) recognized at the conference included:
Responding to Immediate Post-Pandemic Needs & Building a Stronger Safety Net: Kentucky Maternal and Infant Health Project – State Representative Nima Kulkarni (Louisville, KY)
Rebuilding Jobs and the Economy: Secure Tokens for State Financial Offerings – State Senator Chris Hansen (Denver, CO)
Securing our Communities and our Planet: Biogas to Vehicle Fuel – Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird (Lincoln, NE)
Healing our Democracy and Rebuilding Community: New Standards for Police Use of Force – Councilmember Will Jawando (Montgomery County, MD)
“Congratulations to our winners for their innovative and impactful ideas that can help inform policymakers in states across the country, as well as leaders in Washington,” said NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan.
“Their solutions embrace the keys to prosperity in the 21st century — adapting to the new economy, strengthening our safety net, improving access to a great education, promoting cleaner and more sustainable energy, and healing divisions. At a moment of extraordinary challenges facing our nation, but also enormous opportunities to solve persistent problems, the Ideas Challenge has highlighted the critical role of state and local leaders in building back better from the pandemic. Together, the more than 50 proposals submitted in this year’s competition serve as a governing agenda for a more equitable and prosperous society.”
“This is such an unexpected honor, and I really appreciate the NewDEAL highlighting our work to combat student debt in Connecticut,” Haskell said.
“This tax credit would never have passed without the brains and advocacy of colleagues like James Maroney and Alex Kasser. I can’t wait to see the credit become available this January, helping entice graduates to launch their careers in our state.”
In its fifth edition, the Challenge was open to 178 members of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), an organization that supports state and local pro-growth progressive elected officials through the exchange of ideas and engagement with other top public, private, and non-profit sector officials. U.S. Senator Chris Coons (DE), Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), and Columbia, SC Mayor Steve Benjamin serve as Honorary Co-chairs of the group.
Submissions to the New Ideas Challenge were evaluated by seven judges: U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, Chair, New Democrat Coalition; Elizabeth Fairchild, Executive Director, Business Forward; Josh Freed, Senior Vice President for the Climate and Energy Program, Third Way; Zachary Markovits, Managing Director of What Works Cities, Results for America; Nelson Reyneri Jr., Chair-Elect, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Cathilea Robinett, CEO, e.Republic; and Desiree Tims, President and CEO, Innovations Ohio.