Illinois Senate Democrats released data Thursday that shows state school districts could lose $450 million in funding if the income tax hike sunsets next year as scheduled.
State Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge called the estimate a "conservative and realistic scenario," adding that “It’s going to have a major impact on the lives of students and the people who educate them.”
The struggling Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district is set to lose close to $174 million if the tax hike ends. CPS officials say the school system "cannot support any further cuts to our children and their classrooms," according to the Sun-Times.
“CPS has cut its bureaucracy and directed resources towards the classroom, which is yielding measurable, meaningful results for our students. Further state budget cuts will jeopardize that progress and have a detrimental impact on our children,” CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett added in response to the new data.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced last month that he would like to see the temporary state income tax hike become permanent. “If nothing is done, Illinois will face extreme and radical cuts to education and we don’t think that’s the way to go. ... The state is at a turning point and now is not the time to turn back on the progress being made,” a spokesman for the governor told the newspaper.
Illinois Republicans are pushing back against the data released by Senate President john Cullerton's office, accusing Dems of overexaggerating the potental loss schools could seen in general state aid.
“We don’t believe the scenario they’ve created — that without an extension of their 67 percent income-tax increase the state budget will collapse,” said Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno. “We don’t buy into that scenario. We believe they are attempting to create a crisis to justify going back to taxpayer’s pockets.”