The Illinois Catholic Conference is advocating proposed tax changes for fiscal year 2022 that would reduce a tax credit on private scholarship donations.
In a letter released Tuesday, Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago joined the bishops representing the state’s other five dioceses – administrative districts under the Catholic Church – and urged Catholics to call their local lawmakers and urge them to join oppose the measure put forward by Governor JB Pritzker, whom they called “an important matter of public order and social justice”.
Nine policy changes to corporate tax law are proposed in the governor’s February budget review for the fiscal year. One of these changes applies to both businesses and individuals: a reduction in the state income tax credit granted for a donation to a recognized scholarship organization.
The organization providing grants must educate children from families whose income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty line for that census area. Many of the scholarships go to private tuition at Catholic educational institutions in the state.
“We ask that you simply call your lawmakers and urge them to oppose the governor’s plan to cut the Invest in Kids program and instead support efforts to expand and improve the tax credit for the Invest in Kids Scholarship “said the bishops in the letter.
According to current law, 75% of the donation can be claimed as a credit towards the state income tax. If Pritzker’s preferred budget came into effect, the loan would be reduced to 40% of the donation.
This law was originally introduced under the Invest in Kids Act during budget negotiations under former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in 2017. It was part of the package to create an evidence-based funding formula to revise the way the state finances public schooling.
Pritzker has been criticized by business leaders and Republican lawmakers for calling his proposed tax changes “closing corporate loopholes,” since they were originally implemented as deliberate policy changes under previous governors or Pritzker himself.
Three of the nine proposed changes eliminate or reduce tax relief measures that Pritzker passed during the 2019 budget negotiations.
The governor has promised to balance Illinois’ budget for the coming fiscal year while keeping income taxes and government spending unchanged.
Estimates by the Illinois Department of the Treasury and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget suggest that if the budget went into effect by the end of the fiscal year, it would generate a surplus of $ 120 million.