When the Invest in Kids Tax Credit was passed as part of Illinois’ Equitable School Funding Formula in 2017, it brought a beacon of hope for low-income and working-class families in our state. The program’s mission was straightforward yet impactful: provide privately funded scholarships to non-public K-12 schools for students who would otherwise struggle to afford it. For those generous enough to donate, the program offered a 75% tax credit on their contribution. In other words, it was a win-win proposition, making quality education more accessible while incentivizing charitable giving.
Fast forward to today, and the program has proven to be an undeniable success. Since its inception, the Invest in Kids program has raised a staggering $283,300,000 and funded nearly 38,000 scholarships. The average family benefiting from this program has an income of approximately $45,000.
These are not just numbers; they represent lives transformed, dreams realized, and futures secured. But, despite these tremendous achievements, the program is on the brink of expiration which would prevent parents from choosing a school that best fits their child’s needs.
Throughout Spring Session we’ve seen citizen advocates, fellow members of the General Assembly, and representatives of various labor unions across the state come to Springfield to convince us to keep the program alive.
Advocates have shared their personal experience how the scholarship program benefitted their own children. Scholarship recipients have explained to us what a difference this program made in their school lives. Representatives have received countless constituent emails expressing their support for the tax credit. Even the labor unions stressed how essential it is for our state to have a skilled workforce that encompasses electricians, laborers, carpenters, operating engineers, plumbers, and many others.
All this support is a testament to the value of a well-rounded education; something we cannot overstate the importance of.
We stand at a critical juncture. To let this program expire would be a tragedy for these families and a disservice to the state of Illinois. We owe it to the families who have benefitted from the tax credit scholarship and the many more who are waiting and hopeful for their turn.
As an Illinois citizen, I urge you to lend your voice in support of keeping the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship. Together, we can ensure that those families receiving the scholarships have the assurance their child’s education will continue to thrive in a school of their choice.
The Invest in Kids program is more than just a tax credit – It’s an investment in our future, a testament to our commitment to education, and a lifeline for thousands of Illinois families. Let’s not let the sun set on such a brilliant initiative. I urge you to contact your lawmaker today to express your support.