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*** UPDATED x1 - Pritzker would’ve voted “No” on school bill *** Brown takes a close look at the new tax credit

Wednesday, Aug 30, 2017

* Mark Brown has an interesting column with some details of the new private (and out of district public) school scholarship income tax credit program

To qualify for a scholarship, a student’s family income can’t exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty level, which is currently $73,800 for a family of four.

But students from the same size household whose family income is $45,000 or less will get first crack at the scholarship money.

Students in that lowest income category will each be eligible for the maximum scholarship, which will be calculated as the lesser of the statewide average operational expense per public school student — currently about $12,280 — or the actual tuition and fees of the school they choose to attend. […]

The tax credits are to be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis but will be limited by the proportion of private school students in a given geographic area, the details of which remain to be determined.

This provision was intended to prevent the Chicago area from hogging all the tax credits — and consequently all the scholarships.

You really should go read the whole thing.

*** UPDATE ***  Greg Hinz

Pritzker’s campaign confirms to me that, had he been in the General Assembly, he would have voted against [the school funding reform bill] because the measure included a controversial provision providing $75 million a year in tax credits for donors to private and parochial school scholarships. […]

The question: Would the candidate really have risked shutting schools statewide over a $75 million program in a $7 billion bill?

Good question. I’ve asked the campaign.

* Related…

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* Illinois will likely become the largest blue state to offer private school choice

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* Editorial: New education funding formula will benefit Illinois’ children

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - JB13 - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:59 pm:

    So, he would’ve voted against it, and potentially closed public schools, because he didn’t get everything he wanted? Sounds like a real breath of fresh air. Exactly what Illinois needs.


  2. - walker - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    Better answer: “If I were Governor, there would have been no veto in the first place.”


  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    ===Pritzker’s campaign confirms to me that, had he been in the General Assembly, he would have voted against [the school funding reform bill] because the measure included a controversial provision providing $75 million a year in tax credits for donors to private and parochial school scholarships. […]===

    - walker -,

    That’s really pointing out the miss…

    ===“If I were Governor, there would have been no veto in the first place.”===

    Pritzker is running for governor.

    Let legislative questions be framed from someone looking at them from the Big Chair.

    Not an awful miss, but…


  4. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    If Pritzker not careful, the dud duo will be down to the ominous one.


  5. - Sue - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    Yea- the IEA/IFT control me do I would have voted no to keep Unions happy and shutdown schools statewide. Just what Illinois needs - a machine pol


  6. - LizPhairTax - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    Pritzker went on to say that if he had been Scottie Pippen he would’ve stayed in against the Knicks even though the play was drawn up for Toni and if he’d been Mike Ditka he would’ve handed the ball to Payton instead of the Fridge in Super Bowl XX.

    He went on to remind everyone that he’s a nice guy and then make a self-deprecating comment about his weight. The crowd went wild.


  7. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    ==Yea- the IEA/IFT control me do I would have voted no to keep Unions happy and shutdown schools statewide. Just what Illinois needs - a machine pol==

    We don’t aways disagree with you Sue, just when we understand what it is you are trying to say. Say, what is your first language?


  8. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    The Rauner folks will be responding to this in…three,two,one.


  9. - Ghost - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    yeah right. lots of families with 4 kids and 45k annual income can pay 12k in tuition to be reimbursed later with a tax “credit”. a credit that far exceeds what a 45k a year family will have paid after the 1,500 per child tax credit on 4 kids.

    this is a joke no poor person will gain a dime from a credit, and they wont have the upfront cash anyway. this aint for poor people. poor people dont need credits.


  10. - We'll See - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:40 pm:

    But now that the deed is done, will JB participate in the tax credit program? I’ve seen his campaign ad about helping kids get a good education. /s


  11. - City Zen - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:41 pm:

    ==Better answer: “If I were Governor, there would have been no veto in the first place.”==

    Even better answer: “If I were Governor, there would have been no veto in the first place because I will tax retirement income to help pay for everything.”


  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    ==The Rauner folks will be responding to this in…three,two,one.==

    What Rauner folks? Does he even have a new Comms staff yet?


  13. - Swift - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    Looks like we can add Mark Brown to the list of 15 or so people who have actually read the scholarship provision, but I suppose JB read the IEA Executive Summary so he is an “expert” now.

    Maybe JB needs a primer on encouraging the public to do good things, like give money for scholarships to poor kids (imagine that),with incentives (tax credits) or disincentives (excise taxes) to get the public to stop doing bad things.

    I’d have a lot more respect for JB if he said he would not vote for, or veto, the scholarship plan because it looks like a bureaucratic nightmare for donors and schools and manages to put a middleman in between the donor and the school.


  14. - City Zen - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:49 pm:

    ==Maybe JB needs a primer on encouraging the public to do good things, like give money for scholarships to poor kids==

    Does JB’s $100 million donation to Northwestern’s law school count?


  15. - DuPage Bard - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:52 pm:

    walker with the best answer. Most of Pritzker responses should be framed, at this point, as if he were already Governor and how Rauner screwed it up in the first place.
    There are so many opportunities to instead of answering the direct question talk about how it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.


  16. - Ed Equity - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    Has anyone checked the tax records of Pritzker’s philanthropy?

    Has he ever donated to said scholarship granting organizations like LINK Unlimited or Big Shoulders?

    He certainly supports Pre-K Vouchers; why not at an older age? Perhaps the CTU and IEA control him now?

    Hmmmm?


  17. - Mike - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:03 pm:

    - Ghost
    That is not how this works if you donate let’s say $1,000 to a participating voucher provider you get at a $750 credit on your state income tax. Some family that is eligible under the guidelines will then get a voucher to attend a private school. Catholics and others similar groups are going to be setting themselves up as voucher providers to funnel children to their school network and they will rely on their existing donor base to fund them through this tax credit.


  18. - The Real Just Me - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:08 pm:

    Mark Brown reports: “Supporters of the program estimate $100 million would provide need-based scholarships for 10,000 to 15,000 private school students statewide, depending on the dollar amount of the individual scholarship.” Is that $100 million in new donations and 15,000 new scholarships? Does anyone have any idea how much is being donated now? How many scholarships are being given now? There are over 500 Catholic schools alone in Illinois. That’s $200,000 each for scholarships if it were only for Catholic schools. There are certainly Chicago-area Catholic high schools that have to be pulling down 10X that amount already in scholarship donations, even without the tax credit.


  19. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:15 pm:

    ==Perhaps the CTU and IEA control him now?==

    LOL, take a look at what Karen Lewis said about him and tell me again that CTU controls him.


  20. - Swift - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:21 pm:

    ==Does JB’s $100 million donation to Northwestern’s law school count?==

    Not a valid comparison whenever naming rights are involved, but nice try. If JB held out a few more years and gave the money to a private high school he’d have a high school named after him and a nice tax credit coming his way though…


  21. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:24 pm:

    ==If Pritzker not careful, the dud duo will be down to the ominous one.==

    Because he took the politically advantageous position? Not sure you’ve fully separated your preferences from your analysis.


  22. - JoeMaddon - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:32 pm:

    **lots of families with 4 kids and 45k annual income can pay 12k in tuition to be reimbursed later with a tax “credit”. **

    So, I am adamantly opposed to this tax credit scheme. But you are completely wrong with how this tax credit works.

    The tax credit is for the donors to a scholarship fund, not the individual families that receive the scholarship.


  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 5:27 pm:

    Some of y’all are really twisting yourselves into pretzels to find ways to condemn Pritzker’s philanthropy.

    “He certainly supports Pre-K Vouchers; why not at an older age? Perhaps the CTU and IEA control him now? Hmmmm?” and “Not a valid comparison whenever naming rights are involved, but nice try.”

    So let me get this straight. Pritzker is a tool of CTU and IEA because he’s supported early childhood education for 20 years and donated millions of dollars both in Illinois and around the country? And his $100 million donation to NU Law to support civil rights education and scholarships so lower-income folks can go to a top law school doesn’t count because they renamed the law school for their largest single donor?

    Seriously? Y’all need to do better.


  24. - Anon0091 - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 5:28 pm:

    Oops - The previous comment was mine.


  25. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 7:39 pm:

    Anon. I could care less about his philanthropy. Just dont make meaningless after the fact pledges. The people who buy that junk dont bother to vote.


  26. - Tyrone - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 8:32 pm:

    The 75m is Bill Brady’s. He does what he can to fund Catholic activity from state coffers. 200k was a bit of a gift from the State to the Newman Center building expansion at ISU a few years ago.


  27. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 6:08 am:

    @Ed Equity:

    From Inside Philanthropy Magazine:

    As we’ve reported, J.B. Pritzker is a national leader when it comes to using philanthropy to push for early childhood education. In fact, it’s hard to think of a single individual donor who’s done more lately to advance this issue. Through the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation (specifically his Children’s Initiative), he’s given millions to organizations like the First Five Years Fund and the Ounce of Prevention, including another $5 million to the Ounce earlier this month.

    So yeah, I think It is fair to say that JB is doing his part to ensure the educational success of at-risk kids.

    It was never really a question.


  28. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    JB criticizing a tax shelter is rich, considering his family uses some of the most aggressive tax avoidance schemes out there.


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