Denver, Colo., May 5, 2021 / 11:00 am
Illinois bishops are urging Catholics in the state to support a scholarship program funded by donations with tax credit incentives - tax credits that the governor intends to cut.
Illinois’ Invest in Kids Act, enacted in 2017, allows for a 75% state income tax credit for charitable donations to an approved scholarship-granting organization; the scholarships help students to attend the school of their choice.
The act, which passed with strong Catholic support, has led to scholarships granted to some 20,000 children in Illinois so far, the state’s bishops say; more than 25,000 students are still in line for scholarships.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and the Illinois Education Association do not support the act, however, claiming that it diverts money away from public schools. Pritzker has recommended cutting the tax credit from 75% to 40%.
Parents should have greater school choice for their children, the state’s bishops said.
“One of the most important decisions parents make is where their children will attend school. All of us concerned with the common good should advocate for greater access to excellent educational opportunities,” Illinois’ six Catholic bishops wrote in a joint letter this week.
“Because this is an issue that will be negotiated during the budget negotiating process, there is no specific bill number to give you. We ask you to simply call your state legislators and urge them to oppose the Governor’s plan to cut the Invest in Kids program and instead support efforts to extend and improve the Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Credit,” they wrote.
In Nebraska, the state bishops’ conference lamented the failure of a school choice bill last week in the state legislature.