ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Thousands of kids are getting private school scholarships thanks to a new state tax credit program called Invest in Kids. Governor Bruce Rauner championed it.
So far, more than $1 million was given to Central Illinois’ kids along, but donations are hitting a wall.
Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker was in town briefly Wednesday to visit with kids at the Boys and Girls Club. He stressed the importance of supporting at-risk youth.
But, when it comes to this issue, he believes it does more harm than good and repeated his stance: He wants to get rid of it.
The target goal for Invest in Kids is $100 million. Donations initially flooded in at the start of the year, but have since stalled. As of now, the state’s raised just shy of $40 million. In total, donors are getting back almost $31 million in tax savings.
Pritzker and other Democrats say they want to scrap the program because it more so helps the wealthy. The Pritzker campaign says their stance is firm; they want to get rid of it.
Sources say that could be up for debate. Pritzker, who is Jewish, told prominent Jewish leaders in closed meetings, this year, he’s looking for an alternative to be fair to children.
Pritzker’s campaign was unable to explain what would happen to kids who’ve already received scholarships.
The non-profit group giving out the awards, Empower Illinois, shut down its site at one point because of how many kids were applying. Leaders did not respond to questions to explain how many kids were accepted or are still waiting.
Donors who contribute get 75% of their donations back as tax credit.
Democrats say, when they return for veto session, they will continue discussing the future of the program. Right now, there is legislation to gut it.