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The best reason to vote “No” on the tax credit

Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017

* SJ-R

Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, one of the handful of Republicans who voted for the budget, said he couldn’t support the compromise because there is no money budgeted for the tax credit [for private school tuition] and the state is still struggling to catch up on bills accumulated during the budget impasse.

“We don’t spend money we don’t have,” he said. “We don’t have excess money. This bill moves us in the wrong direction.”

* Harris said that during the budget talks he participated in members repeatedly fought over tiny amounts of money, so he simply couldn’t vote for a $75 million unfunded tax credit…

* More

“I would prefer that we cut spending to pay for this,” said State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills. “I don’t know where this money is going to come from.”

* And

“Look, I went to parochial high school. My two sons went to parochial grade school and high school. My wife and I made the choice to do that because the education we wanted for our kids, but we struggled to pay the tuitions and we struggled to pay the property taxes. That was a choice that we voluntarily made. So I understand and value parochial education… but I also have a responsibility to the taxpayers of the state of Illinois,” Harris said. “Like it or not, because of our two years of budget impasse and an accumulation of $15 billions of back bills, this state needs a tight fiscal diet for years to come.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    The number of GOPers who did vote for this shows how their histrionics about spending and deficits is mostly hooey.

  2. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    Come on conference committee…

  3. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    Honest Question- Will the $75 mil be it’s own line item in the budget down the line? If so, could it not be “taken out” during the next round of budgeting, especially if we have a new governor?

  4. - SpiritualiIzed - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    How about turning down the AC in the Capitol! That saves some $ right there.

  5. - My button is broke... - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    The $75 million is foregone revenue. Tax credits, deductions and such don’t show up on a budget ever. To get rid of them requires the passage of a bill (or wait until an automatic sunset).

  6. - My thoughts - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    For those against vouchers for primary/elementary education, are you also against the use of MAP grants in a private university?

  7. - Sue - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    What is appalling is the bail out of CPS after Daley spent the funding surplus over the last 10 years of his tenure. Why isn’t there an outcry over Daley’s midmanagdmdnf as opposed to Rauner’s efforts at reform. It’s like everything else Dems never get blamed for their roles in ruining the inner cities

  8. - cdog - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    Nice point from “My thoughts.”

    I hope the $75m stays and becomes part of school codes.

    Most organisms benefit from variety, hybridization, diversity, becoming more robust.

    Having different education systems, such as public, parochial and home-schools, is beneficial to a free society.

    All the same, all the time, is not healthy.

  9. - filmmaker prof - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    My Thoughts … no, because college is not mandatory. every child must go to school and the financial burden on the state is massive.

  10. - filmmaker prof - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    My Thoughts … no, because college is not mandatory. every child must go to K-12 school and the financial burden on the state is massive.

  11. - Steve - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    A pretty darn good argument. After all, it’s based on real numbers which are facts. It’s time to start thinking about separating school from state..

  12. - illinifan - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    One thing to consider. If private schools get help from the government through vouchers will they now be required to accept all students that apply. Right now the high schools have entrance exams and limit enrollment to students who pass. Also elementary schools often do not pay for services for special needs students. The special needs students obtain those services through the public school. Will this change when they start receiving vouchers for those students?

  13. - filmmaker prof - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 12:58 pm:

    sorry about double post

  14. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    My button is broke… Thanks:)

  15. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    @gene debbs
    =Why doesn’t Illinois just adequately fund all schools? The answers to that are many: structural deficits, the North/South antagonism, and maybe just a tiny bit of racism/class division? The poorest performing schools are mainly located in the poorest communities.=

    Gene, Illinois schools are far MORE than adequately funded. According to the National Education Association’s “Rankings and Estimates” report, Illinois spends about 18% per pupil above the national average despite having a cost of living about at the national average. That “EXTRA” 18% is the REAL reason the pensions aren’t funded. The districts spend the money bloating staff, benefits and salary instead of properly funding excessive pensions. That’s a big reason that pension costs should be shifted to the employers instead of the state. They shouldn’t be able to give away excessive compensation AND escape the consequences for that spending while ignoring the pension obligations.

  16. - Concerned Dem - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    “My Thoughts” - The difference being that our state university have the ability to charge tuition for attendance to cover their costs, K-12 public school cannot.

    “Sue” - You won’t see Gov. Rauner complaining about former Mayor Daley… he spent good money helping him get re-elected time after time.

  17. - Montrose - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:12 pm:

    David Harris is a good legislator. While we don’t agree on everything, he smart, pragmatic, and works hard. Just think if we had legislators like him in abundance in Springfield.

  18. - Blue dog dem - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:15 pm:

    “We dont spend money we dont have”. Where.when.who.what?

  19. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:16 pm:

    Rauner a month ago: I’m vetoing SB1 because it’s a Chicago bailout we can’t afford.

    Rauner today: The money we’ll give ti Chicago is fine, as long as we can give more to private schools.

    Say whaaaa?

  20. - Hit or Miss - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:26 pm:

    In my view, it would be better for Illinois tax payers to use the $75 million to pay some of its debts. I am specifically thinking of the pension debts and the debts that have accumulated since Rauner became governor. No one is ‘owed’ the tax credit that was just approved by the House, many are due portions of the accumulated debts of the state.

  21. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:47 pm:

    Wonderful. Our cheerleader for “average” has returned.

    Anyway, he makes a good argument. No histrionics (ahem, CTU). Even if one doesn’t agree with him you have to respect his position.

  22. - My thoughts - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    Concerned Dem - K-12 schools do have the ability to charge tuition and do charge; they call them fees such as technology fee.

  23. - My thoughts - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    filmmaker prof - College/trade schools are mandatory if you want a decent job.

  24. - walker - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    David Harris negotiated the Sunni Shia shoals in trying to set up a functioning govt in Iraq. Noone bullies him. Noone buys him off.

  25. - Perrid - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    Arizona Bob, some districts are “more than adequately funded”, others are less so.On average something like 55% of per pupil spending in IL comes from local districts (looking at the data from the urban institute versus 45% nation wide. Considering the huge difference in local property taxes, I imagine there are a lot of districts that are not adequately funded.

  26. - Ron - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:08 pm:

    “this state needs a tight fiscal diet for years to come”


  27. - H-W - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    Rep. Harris took a truly principled stand. I admire that in a politician, regardless of which side of the issue they take.

  28. - anon2 - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    Harris and McSweeney have a good point. The leaders didn’t address how to pay for a new tax credit that reduces revenues by $75 million. They probably didn’t want to deal with the controvery of either cutting existing programs or enhancing revenues.

  29. - igotgotgotgotnotime - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:24 pm:

    -For those against vouchers for primary/elementary education, are you also against the use of MAP grants in a private university? -
    I’m against any unfunded entitlement in a deficit spending situation.

  30. - Earnest - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    >couldn’t support the compromise because there is no money budgeted for the tax credit

    I support the compromise but agree with his point. We got into our financial mess by avoiding unpopular but responsible things: raising revenue to match our spending, cutting spending to match our revenue, or a combination thereof. Passing a permanent tax increase was a very unpopular and very responsible step. From that perspective, this is a serious step backwards.

    I’m glad he made the point, but it doesn’t change my gratitude to legislators for getting this needed bill passed.

  31. - A guy - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:47 pm:

    Not sure how his “butt” is on the line, but whatever…

  32. - Old Timer - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    Dave Harris has too much class to be a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

  33. - Amanda Vinicky - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 3:42 pm:

    Wanted to disclose that Rep. Harris said Rauner *allies* are recruiting an opponent to run against him, not the governor himself — apologies, I must have missed/misheard him during the debate (the chamber was quite noisy, as usual!). Senate President Cullerton was asked this afternoon about where the money will come from; he said that will have to be part of the debate for the FY19 budget, and that the private scholarship fund/tax credit will not have a fiscal impact in FY18.

  34. - Scott - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    Hit or Miss: there isn’t $75M to pay down bills, this is a tax credit which means the state will get $75M less next year without any way to replace that money. It’s like promising next years bonus money without a way to pay your mortgage when that money disappears.

  35. - Earnest - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 4:18 pm:

    >he said that will have to be part of the debate for the FY19 budget, and that the private scholarship fund/tax credit will not have a fiscal impact in FY18

    Dang, I should have caught that before I made my post. Thank you for adding that.

  36. - DeseDemDose - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 6:04 pm:

    McSweeney runs to be on camera babbling about high taxes but never knows where the money is going to come from or states specifically what he wants to cut.

  37. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 8:13 pm:


    =Arizona Bob, some districts are “more than adequately funded”, others are less so.On average something like 55% of per pupil spending in IL comes from local districts (looking at the data from the urban institute versus 45% nation wide. Considering the huge difference in local property taxes, I imagine there are a lot of districts that are not adequately funded=

    Actually, Illinois pays about 65% of K-12 from real estate taxes, about the highest in the nation. There are districts that need state help and should get it in some rural communities, but the current Augenblick and Meyers mess to determine foundation level needs to be dumped, and “bonus” state aid should only be given if there is a surplus after bringing every district in the state up to a REAL minimum level. The way to determine “adequacy” is by operational study to establish a baseline for staffing, compensation levels, and resource allocation fro districts by region. The reason this isn’t done is politics. When the adequacy evaluation shows how many districts can pay $120K for 178 days to Drivers ed teachers, they’d have a pretty tough time explain why state taxpayers should be overfunding them for this largesse.

  38. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 8:21 pm:

    One of the biggest problems with Illinois education overspending is the way proper spending allocation could have prevented the fiscal disaster coming for TRS and CPS pension funding. If 18% of expenditures (or even 10% of operating expenses) had been properly going to pension payments instead of to compensation going up faster than inflation and an unsustainable salary schedule, that money could have been contributed to meet constitutional pension obligations, and if it had been left to the schools to pay it would have put restraint on contracts, staffing, and boondoggles. I don’t know where you can take this for solution in Illinois, but I know that increasing taxes won’t get you there unless the whole school spending situation is given a “do-over”, and the Dems and unions aren’t going to let that happen. Without that, I see no way out for Illinois other than by U-Haul….

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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