Illinois lawmakers introduce bill to save scholarships for low-income Illinois families
House Bill 4076 would make the Invest In Kids Act permanent. The Invest in Kids Act provides a tax credit of 75 cents for every $1 donated to qualified scholarship granting institutions, up to a maximum of $1 million dollars. It’s currently set to expire in 2022.
Several Illinois House Representatives have joined the fight to save tax credit scholarships for working-class kids and families after Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed deep cuts to the tax credit program.
House Bill 4076 would make the Invest In Kids Act permanent. The Invest in Kids Act provides a tax credit of 75 cents for every $1 donated to qualified scholarship granting institutions, up to a maximum of $1 million dollars. It’s currently set to expire in 2022.]
In a series of proposed tax increases, Pritzker announced plans to reduce the tax credit from 75% to 40% in order to add a projected $14 million dollars to state coffers. However, the governor would do so on the backs of working-class and minority families. The average income for scholarship recipient families is $38,000, and 49% are Black or Hispanic, according to Empower Illinois.
So far, 46 representatives from the Illinois House have cosigned the bill to keep scholarships available for low- and working-class families at a time when they’ve faced severe financial difficulties. Many have had to choose between putting food on the table and financing their children’s education. Tax credit scholarships save mothers like Syreeta Plummer, the breadwinner for her two kids in Countryside Hills, from making that impossible tradeoff.
“Every bit counts,” she said. “Every little bit helps. So [being awarded the scholarships meant] the extra money was able to go into the household for bills, food, expenses to live, etc. Every bit of savings helps our family at some point or the other.”
For the Nicole Sniff, a mother of six in Normal, tax credit scholarships allowed her family to afford an educational program that identified and met her kids’ diverse learning needs.
“[Our private school’s] reading specialist helped diagnose both of my middle sons with learning disabilities, and we’re getting them the resources they need,” she said. “And it has been such a gift to be there. [Our son] Drake is 15 now and in his freshman year of high school. He is excelling in school despite his learning disabilities. The tax credit scholarship made that possible.”
The tax credit scholarship also allows former students of these programs the opportunity to pay it forward. Chicago WBNA All-Star Allie Quigley appreciates the generosity of donors, which afforded her mom, a single mother of four, the ability to provide Allie and her siblings an education that met her family’s needs.
“To be able to know that someone helped us, even if they gave just a little bit, giving however much you can give, I feel like it’s so important to be able to help other families the way we were always helped,” she said. “And it just feels really good to be able to give back in that way.”
Each child learns differently and has unique needs when it comes to learning. Every Illinois family should have the opportunity to provide the best possible education for their children. Passing HB 4076 would promise those opportunities for future generations to come.
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