School choice advocates across the country have been collectively celebrating landmark scholarship tax credit legislation that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed August 31. (Photo: Office of the Governor)

Although 17 other states have similar programs, this was the school choice movement’s “first victory in a big and overwhelmingly Democratic state,” according to Scott Jensen, senior government affairs advisor for the American Federation for Children (AFC). “Hopefully, this victory for children in the big blue state of Illinois, will encourage other large Democratic states to embrace school choice,” he added.

The Illinois program provides tax credits to individuals and corporations that donate to organizations that award scholarships to students to attend private schools. The tax credits will be worth 75 percent of the donation’s value, so a $1,000 donation will yield a tax savings of $750. Up to $75 million in tax credits will be issued each year, translating into $100 million in scholarships. The legislation allows individual donors to direct their contributions to particular types of schools or even a particular school, but prohibits corporate donors from doing so.

Read more about the program in the October issue of CAPE Outlook.