Reducing tax break for private school scholarships would only hurt Illinois

Without the scholarships, these students likely would be attending a public or charter school that provides no greater an education, and probably a lesser one.

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The Illinois Senate (shown above) and House in 2017 approved a tax credit for contributions made to a scholarship program that supports private schools. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has proposed reducing the credit.

AP Photos

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, as part of the state’s next budget, wants to reduce the tax credit for the Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program to 40% from its current 75%. The governor says this is to “close a corporate loop hole.” In reality, it likely will result in a poorer education for some students and surely greater cost to the state and local school districts.

Our family has contributed to the Invest in Kids Act, helping to create scholarships. For every $100 contribution, we have received a $75 state tax credit. Our contribution likely has allowed three students to attend faith-based schools that their parents otherwise could not afford. Without the scholarships, these students likely would be attending a public or charter school that provides no greater an education, and probably a lesser one, at substantial cost to the state and school district. 

The governor has made this proposal in the name of “closing a corporate loop hole.” There must be another reason.

Donald Gimbel, Elmhurst

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Expecting more from police

The pro-policing crowd always seems to ignore two points. 

First of all, Chicagoans do, in fact, march and organize against violence all the time. A quick internet search will identify numerous organizations that work every day to combat the senseless weekly carnage that occurs here in Chicago. They are out in the city, making sure people know they stand against violence.

Secondly, and more importantly, we expect more from the police.Criminals are going to break the law. Police are not supposed to.

Don Anderson, Oak Park

Taxing billionaires

While millions of families have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, billionaires in the United States have watched their fortunes increase by 40%. This has resulted in an extreme concentration of wealth not seen in any other major economy.

The gross lopsided accumulation of such wealth could be lessened — and the additional revenue used to help those in need — with the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, which would be imposed a 2% annual tax on the net worth of households and trusts between $50 million and $1 billion. It would impose an additional 1% annual surtax on the net worth of households and trusts abouve $1 billion.

It is important to keep in mind that wealth inequality in our country is on average worse for Black and brown families. By taxing the ultra-rich, our country could redistribute that wealth into programs and services benefiting some of our most vulnerable and systemically harmed citizens. This would be a true step towards racial and financial equity.

Over the next 10 years, the UMTA would generate $3 trillion. This money could be used for countless applications. Personally, I would hope to see it go toward setting up alternatives to policing and incarceration across the country.

With that kind of money, we could establish robust mental health response services, substance counseling, affordable housing, educational programs and more systems that would put healing and empathy before prosecution and incarceration.

By passing the UMTA, we could take a huge step towards wealth equality in what is currently a tragically unequal country.

Theo Zucker, Andersonville

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