Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » As donations appear to stall, Rauner hits Pritzker over school tax credit program
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As donations appear to stall, Rauner hits Pritzker over school tax credit program

Friday, Apr 6, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* January 8, 2018 News-Gazette editorial

Illinois’ new “Invest in Kids” scholarship program got off to a fast start last week, attracting more than $36 million of the $100 million limit on its first day.

The governor’s pet project did, indeed, get off to a fast start, but it has stalled out since then. The total contributed as of today is $41 million - just $5 million more than three months ago and $59 million short of the $100 million goal. Also, just $36 million has been received so far.

* Anyway, on to the Rauner campaign…

It’s already clear that JB Pritzker is a tax cheat pushing tax hikes. He hides his money in the Bahamas to avoid paying his fair share of taxes while at the same time proposing a massive income tax hike on hardworking Illinois families.

Now this week, his hypocricsy hit a new level. JB Pritzker wants to immediately end the “Invest in Kids” tax credit scholarship program that provides low-income students an opportunity to finally have a better education. Yet at the same time, he’s benefitted from other tax credits to enhance his personal wealth.

JB Pritzker is completely fine with tax credits when they benefit him…just not when they provide opportunity for Illinois’ least fortunate students.

Check out the coverage from WCIA:

    While Pritzker opposes the use of tax credits for private school scholarships, he supports them when it helps him pursue profit. According to state records, Pritzker claimed a total of $1.9 million in tax credits for companies he owns under the Angel Investment Credit Program, an initiative proposed under Governor Pat Quinn to entice wealthy investors to provide working capital to upstart companies in the state. Governor Bruce Rauner revived the program after it stalled in 2017.

    …Former Florida Governor and 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush highlighted Pritzker’s personal wealth and his willingness to reject the bipartisan deal in a tweet he posted Thursday afternoon, which declared Rauner a “champion.”

    The Rauner campaign, which is supremely confident public opinion polls support their side in this debate, also highlighted the economic aspect of Pritzker’s stance.

    “It’s shameful for Pritzker to say he would immediately end the scholarship program when so many low-income students will soon be benefiting from a better education,” campaign spokesman Will Allison wrote. “It’s clear Pritzker is out-of-touch with struggling families who can finally choose a brighter future for their children.”

Kinda apples to oranges, but it’s politics, so whatevs. And it’s baffling to me that the Rauner campaign didn’t mention the fact that Pritzker used the state high tech investment tax credit program to avoid paying any state income taxes in 2014.

* The article does effectively rebut one of Pritzker’s claims

“It’s appalling that the state loses out on precious education funds in order to give to wealthy donors a tax break. J.B. believes in investing in our public schools so that every child, no matter their zip code, has a quality education in their own neighborhood.”

Except that’s not occurring under this new law. A critical linchpin of the new funding formula was a hold harmless provision that insured no school district would lose funding on a per-pupil basis, which protected against any loss of funding in the event of public school students leaving for private school.

* But it includes this doozy from Rabbi Shloma Soroka

“This is private citizens giving private donations to a private 501(c)(3) that funds private students to go to a private schools. Never does the money pass through a state treasury or agency. It’s not funded by the government. It’s not funded by taxpayers.”

Um, it’s a potentially $75 million net reduction in taxes paid.

…Adding… From Rabbi Soroka…

What I said about private donations to private nonprofits was regarding the misconception that there’s a constitutional issue with this program. It had nothing to do with whether or not it results in a loss of revenue to the state. In fact, I’m quoted again later in the article as saying, “A voucher system takes money directly out of the state’s education spending budget. This (tax credit) is from general revenue.” That’s where I was making the point that even the maximum loss of revenue would not significantly impact the state’s ability to fund public education.

We need a robust public educational system that has the financial resources necessary to provide quality education for all the children it serves.

* Related…

* AUDIO: Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti criticizes Pritzker’s call to eliminate scholarships


  1. - PJ - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:12 pm:

    ===Except that’s not occurring under this new law.===

    Wrong. CPS internally apportions its money on a per pupil basis. The district as a whole will be held harmless, but individual schools will still get punished for every child who leaves to go to a charter.

  2. - JS Mill - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:13 pm:

    =A critical linchpin of the new funding formula was a hold harmless provision that insured no school district would lose funding on a per-pupil basis, which protected against any loss of funding in the event of public school students leaving for private school.=

    Unless something changed since I read the bill, that is a 2 year hold harmless, not a permanent hold harmless. That is an important distinction.

  3. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:24 pm:

    What is the rabbi smoking?

  4. - A Jack - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    Come on Bruce, you are confusing JB’s trust which he has no control over, with your back porch dealin’ blind trust.

  5. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    Donations were always gonna stall after the big initial rush, but this is really awful.

  6. - Roman - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:40 pm:

    I’m just not sure of the great political advantage this program brings to Rauner. The wealthy donors and “school choice” ideologues love it, but they’re already with him.

    The families who receive the scholarships are poor and likely D voters. I don’t see them shifting to Rauner — and even if they did, there aren’t that many of them.

    Middle class Catholic school parents, (who are potentially “gettable” for Rauner,) are in the process of finding out their kids don’t qualify for the scholarships because their income is too high.

    Who is Rauner gaining? Maybe this smooths his edges among minority voters and suburban moderate women — makes him appear compassionate by caring for poor children?

    Just not sure highlighting this as a line of attack on JB does anything for him.

  7. - Chicago - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:41 pm:

    I think stating that donations have stalled is incorrect. Has any other State had that large an amount donated in its 1st year? I highly doubt it.
    It’s a great success, especially for the kids who will benefit…ironically kids from families whose Legilators largely do not support this valuable program.

  8. - My Button is Broke... - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    If the program isn’t funded by the government, he should have no problem with the government getting out of the program.

  9. - Biker - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    So Rauner now knows what it’s like when someone else uses their influence to knock down a collective effort involving education funding. Sort of like bad mouthing a bond offering from CPS to investors in an effort to drive up interest rates. It’s not a good look for either candidate.

  10. - Perrid - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    This program doesn’t directly take any money away from public schools, yet, so all the doom and gloom shouters are exaggerating at the least. But between the hold harmless part of the new funding model, and the new cash going to schools, and the money in this program that’s tax exempt, well, it just raises the question of how much strain can the system (state government in this case) bear.

  11. - A Jack - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    JB may want to just leave this tiny credit alone for now but use the credit to push for his graduated income tax proposal, by saying that he needs to make up for the revenue lost through the Rauner tax credit.

  12. - Ron - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 1:43 pm:

    How much more money does JB want from us?

  13. - m - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 1:43 pm:

    =Unless something changed since I read the bill, that is a 2 year hold harmless, not a permanent hold harmless. That is an important distinction.=

    You probably read a different bill. Hold harmless in SB1947 was/is permanent.

    To the post: I don’t think this is the best avenue of attack for JB. K-12 funding has gone up every year under Rauner. It’s hard to make the scholarship program look that bad. Higher ed is a better angle, especially for the downstaters who live near the campuses. People may not care as much about higher ed as they do K-12, but it’s a much easier hit. Of course, maybe they are just testing this early to see what moves the meter.

  14. - JS Mill - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    =You probably read a different bill. Hold harmless in SB1947 was/is permanent.=

    No, I read the correct bill. Front to back.

  15. - Obamas Puppy - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    Did “Slippin Sanguinetti” say those comments while reciting her “I Love Bruce” cheer?

  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    == Um, it’s a potentially $75 million net reduction in taxes paid. ==

    Such tax reduction directly harms the public- funded schools at all levels.

  17. - Ron - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    Pensions directly harm public funded schools at all levels.

  18. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    –“This is private citizens giving private donations to a private 501(c)(3) that funds private students to go to a private schools.–

    And in doing so, reducing their tax liability by 75 cents for every dollar.

    It’s meshuggagh to pretend that tax credits aren’t back-door government funding.

    If there’s no government involvement, why did the program have to be created and a dollar amount be assigned to it in the first place?

  19. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 4:13 pm:

    Income Taxes are reduced not property taxes where schools are 65% or so of the bill except maybe in chicago. (where residential property taxes are kept abnormally low for politicall purposes, which also explains all the education mandates passed along by the GA)

  20. - Ron - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    Commercial properties in Chicago are taxes abnormally high though.

  21. - aldemuvs - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 4:36 pm:

    It’s just another tax write off for the wealthy, glad it will benefit some but if they REALY cared they would have been donating already.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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