Rauner tax credit program called silver lining in tarnished school funding bill
Ted Dabrowski doesn't see the state's new school funding formula as the miracle so many legislators contend that it is.
“This is money the state didn’t need to spend,” Dabrowski, the Illinois Policy Institute's vice president of policy, told the Chicago City Wire. “We won’t see any real impact because again bureaucrats have focused on throwing money at the problem instead of trying to do any real good and fix it.”
DNA Chicago estimates that the long-troubled Chicago Public School (CPS) system stands to get it hands on as much as $450 million more than it did last year, and the 550-page bill also paves the way for the Chicago Board of Education to increase its maximum property tax rate for Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund collections by nearly 50 percent, or somewhere in the neighborhood of $221 million.
“It’s a lot to pay for a bailout of CPS,” Dabrowski said. “The only glimmer of good news is for the first time in Illinois kids will have more choices through the scholarship program.”
Dabrowski credits Gov. Bruce Rauner for establishing the $75 million tuition tax credit program that offers low-income families the option of choosing to send their children to private or parochial schools. Most Democrats and education unions opposed the plan.
“I don’t think any of the people who were opposed to reforms at all being a part of this were in favor of something like that,” Dabrowski said. “I commend him for being able to squeeze that out.”
With the new school funding formula now the law of the land, the Chicago Tribune reports that property taxes could rise by as much as 2.5 percent for the average homeowner. The increase comes on the heels of a record-setting $543 million property tax increase that is still being phased in as part of a plan to increase pension fund contributions for police officers and firefighters.