Springfield Democrats Pass a Budget That Ends Illinois' Only School Choice Program; Local Democrats Silent on the Matter

Illinois’ recently passed, record setting $50.6 billion dollar budget ends the Invest in Kids Act Tax Credit Scholarship.

Illinois Democrats, and their super-majorities in the State House and State Senate, voted and passed a Fiscal Year 2024 budget for the state of Illinois at the end of last week.

Despite having total control of the House, Senate, and Governorship, the budget process was delayed twice as a result of internal disagreements on spending priorities. 

Explanations for the delay include Illinois Democrats severely underestimating the cost of a healthcare program for undocumented immigrants and an increase to Medicaid provider reimbursement rates, elements that forced progressive elements to leave only a $100 million dollar cash cushion in the budget plan. This cushion is expected to be blown through following negotiations with the powerful AFSCME union later this June. 

The $50.6 billion dollar approved budget plan, while replete with progressive interest group wish list items, including $7 million in funding for a Committee on Equity and Inclusion, and grants to local Black Lives Matter chapters (including $300,000 to Black Lives Matter Lake County), sunsetted the Invest in Kids Act Tax Scholarship Credit. 

The program offered individuals and businesses a 75% tax credit on donation made to qualified Scholarship Granting Organizations.

The program was a cornerstone of an improved school funding formula that was implemented with bi-partisan support under Governor Rauner, and currently provides scholarships for over 9,700 students to attend any private K-12 school of their choice. There are over 22,000 students on the program's waiting list.

The following Democrat state legislators failed to make any statement on the Invest in kids Act program: State Senators Julie Morrison (SD29) and Adrienne Johnson (SD30); State Representatives Dan Didech (HD59), Nabeela Syed (HD51), Bob Morgan (HD58), and Jonathan Carroll (HD57).

Each state representative listed above will be running for re-election in 2024.

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