House Republicans Denounce Pritzker Decision to Tie School Funding to Graduated Income Tax Approval

Following his February 19 budget address, House Republicans denounced Governor JB Pritzker’s decision to place passage of his graduated income tax proposal ahead of a commitment to fully fund education, health care and public safety in the FY21 budget.

In his address, the Governor recommended holding back $150 million in funds for the evidence-based school funding formula and an additional $40 million for mandated categorical payments for school special education and transportation. The result is that less funding would be available to help close the equity gap for schools. In addition, his recommendation would disproportionately impact funding for rural and small schools.

Because school districts must complete their levies and budgets prior to the November vote on the graduated income tax Constitutional Amendment, Republicans said the Governor is putting schools in an impossible situation. There will be no certainty on the funding that schools will receive from the State, forcing them to delay hiring decisions and to potentially increase property taxes.

Republicans also questioned how the Illinois State Board of Education would implement a State Education budget that includes almost $200 million in hypothetical money.