States and localities are using economic incentives to entice both new and remote workers to relocate to their small towns and urban areas and to do so on either a short-term or permanent basis.
“These incentives augment employer efforts to attract the right employee talent to the right place,” according to attorney Nicole M. Lacoste Folks of the law firm of Gordon Feinblatt.
While individual employer relocations are targeted on an as-needed basis, public funds can attract a broader population with no local employment connection and encourage remote workers who could practically live anywhere to experience a new place while supporting a local economy, she said.
The Vermont legislature recently enacted two incentive programs to help increase its population and address Vermont’s aging workforce, Lacoste Folks explains
The New Remote Worker Grant, available in early 2022, incentivizes remote workers to move to Vermont while they continue to work for an out-of-state employer with a one-time maximum award of $7,500 based on qualifying relocation expenses.
West Virginia combined its Ascend WV Program with its great outdoors to attract new residents. The state will pay new residents $12,000 to move to Morgantown, Lewisburg or Shepherdstown. If the new resident resides in the state for a second year, they will receive an additional $2,000.
Local municipalities also offer their own incentive programs. Topeka and Shawnee County, Kansas, created the Choose Topeka program to attract new residents working for a local employer or working remotely. On-site program participants are offered $10,000 toward residential rental payments or $15,000 toward a house purchase.
Another approach to attracting new residents is giving away free buildable lots. Lincoln, KS, offers free buildable residential lots, ranging between 14,000 and 35,000 square feet, that are connected to public streets and water and sewer systems.