As the General Assembly returns to the Capitol for the final six session days of the year, State Senator Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) says lawmakers cannot leave Springfield without extending and expanding the Invest of Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Without legislative intervention, the program expires on December 31, 2023.
Enacted in 2017, the Illinois Invest in Kids Act provides a state income tax credit for individual and corporate taxpayers who make authorized contributions to a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO), which, in turn, provides scholarships to eligible Illinois students who attend non-public schools. Eligibility is based on demonstrated financial need, ensuring low-income families have access to scholarships to attend their school of choice. Since its inception, more than $308 million has been donated to the fund, and more than 38,000 scholarships have been distributed.
“These scholarships literally change lives by allowing low-income students in struggling schools to use a tuition scholarship to move to a better academic setting that maximizes their opportunities for academic success,” said Chesney. “If Democrats truly believe in equity and equal opportunity, we shouldn’t be spending veto session considering elimination of the program; we should be considering expansion so even more kids can have access to these transformational scholarships.”
Chesney continued, “This is about parental choice for families and providing them with the ability to choose and decide what is best for their kids. Well-off Democrat leaders have no problem sending their kids to private schools but want to take that opportunity away from disadvantaged families. That’s a shame.”
Senate Republicans pushed for the elimination of the sunset during the spring legislative session, but Democrat Party leaders blocked efforts to save the program. Thousands of students and families that have benefitted from Invest in Kids scholarships traveled to Springfield to lobby for the program’s continuance, and despite their pleas, the Democrat Party adjourned in May without taking action.
“There are special interest groups that donate millions of dollars to Democrats’ campaigns, and these groups are pushing for an end to this bipartisan and popular program. I encourage all Illinoisans to follow the money and they will quickly learn why Democrats want to end these scholarships for the most vulnerable,” said Chesney.