WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Public Education and the Illinois Income Tax

Mar 31, 2014

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is selling his budget plan as a way to better fund schools. But that money doesn't come right away.

Quinn made his claims during last week’s budget address, during which he said the temporary income tax increase must be made permanent to fund his investment in schools.

...My plan calls for the biggest education investment in state history.
Credit Rich Egger

He introduced big plans for education, including modernized classrooms, a “birth-to-five” early learning initiative, and more money for elementary and high schools.

“Over the next five years, my plan calls for the biggest education investment in state history. Every child should have an excellent school,” said Quinn.

But in the coming year – the first of the five years mentioned – the increase will be rather slight. The budget provides just an additional 2.5% for the Illinois State Board of Education. 

That's much less than the board’s budget request.

Illinois’ education funding has decreased in recent years and the governor said it will get worse without the tax hike, which could lead to thousands of teacher layoffs. 

He also said those state cuts would lead to higher local property taxes. 

But Republicans, including GOP nominee for governor Bruce Rauner, called that an exaggeration. 

Rauner knocked Quinn for cutting state funding of schools in recent years when the higher income tax rate has been in place.