Will Illinois Lose the Invest In Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program?

Written by Calvin Lindstrom

Illinois enacted the Invest In Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program in 2017. This program offers a 75 percent income tax credit to individuals and businesses that contribute to qualified Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs). The SGOs then provide scholarships for students whose families meet the income requirements to attend qualified, non-public schools in Illinois.

It is a carefully regulated process, but it works.

The total amount of tax credit that could be granted per year was $75 million dollars. That might sound like a lot of money,  but consider that the Illinois State Board of Education has a proposed budget of $20 billion dollars. So $75 million is less than 1% of this budget. In comparison to the total budget for our state, $75 million is a pittance (about .18% of the total budget).

According to a recent op/ed by the Chicago Tribune,

…the program has awarded more than 40,000 scholarships amounting to more than $330 million, according to Empower Illinois, one of the largest scholarship-granting organizations associated with Invest in Kids. Families helped by the effort have an average of $45,046 in yearly household income. More than 60% of recipients are from nonwhite families.

The Tribune‘s Left of center editorial board doesn’t mince words. They declare the “program’s worth is undeniable.”

Illinois, on average, spends about $13,000 per student. So, taxpayers are getting a fantastic deal through this program in terms of savings. Private schools in Illinois save the state far more than $75 million dollars a year. An excellent case can be made that cutting this program will cost taxpayers even more money, but unfortunately, logic and financial stewardship are not characteristics of our state.

Many people love the story of Robin Hood. Whatever the truth of the story is, people like to see the poor get back funds from the rich who have stolen from them. Many politicians like to think that through their policies they are helping to give back to the poor. But increasingly in Illinois, state lawmakers want to take more from the taxpayers so that the rich and connected can get even more.

The Chicago Teachers Union, fearing a loss of power as government schools enrollment drops, are working against this program. Their allies in the Illinois General Assembly are all too happy to let this program sunset this year. In his Chicago Morning Answer radio program this morning, Dan Proft called out the pro-teacher’s union Republican state legislators who are sitting on their hands, refusing to help get this worthy program renewed. Listen and share his 20 minute monologue:

Take ACTION: Call or email the Illinois House Republican Leader, Tony McCombie, to encourage her to champion the cause of this “Invest in Kids” program. There is no good reason why this program isn’t renewed and made permanent. Encourage her to give every child in Illinois a chance at a decent education at a private school that actually emphasizes core curriculum like reading, writing and arithmetic.

Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna)
(815) 291-8989 and McCombie@ilhousegop.org

More ACTION: Click HERE to send a message to Gov. Pritzker and your state lawmakers to urge them to uphold, expand, and solidify the “Invest in Kids” program. Please also follow up with a phone call to your lawmakers. The Springfield switchboard number is (217) 782-2000 or direct numbers for your state lawmakers can be found HERE. The phone numbers for the Office of Governor are (217) 782-6830 or (312) 814-2121.

We are living through a spiritual/legal/political revolution in our nation. The issue at hand is more than just money. We recognize that ultimately we are in a spiritual battle. We must first be in prayer for the sake of our state and for the sake of many who have been helped out of government indoctrination centers. We also must express our strong disapproval to Gov. Pritzker and our state legislators about cutting this program in any way. In fact, the $75 million should be increased. Let’s raise our voice on this vital issue.

Read more: Illinois Invest in Kids Program Should be Expanded, Not Phased Out (Heartland Inst.)