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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

What Could Be The Education Funding Fallout Of The Illinois Graduated Income Tax Amendment Failure?

Peter Medlin

Illinois voters said “no” to the graduated income tax on Tuesday. 


More than 100 labor groups including the Illinois Education Association came out in favor of the proposed amendment. Kathi Griffin is president of the IEA. She said Illinois needed the tax proposal to pass to continue paying for Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) of K-12 schools.


"If people were upset about their property taxes before -- now that we are not going to have money from the state to add to what they had wanted to do -- I'm going to speculate that if you live in some districts of the state, you are going to pay more.” 


Griffin said that could make it more difficult in low-income districts. It’s also more expensive to operate a school during the pandemic due to extra sanitation and technology costs. 


Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has already warned of “painful” funding cuts, with the state facing a budget shortfall exacerbated by the pandemic. 


During his first term, Pritzker has increased education funding for both K-12 and higher-ed. Despite the potential cuts, Griffin said she is confident he will try to prioritize public education. 


“However, his hands and the hands of the General Assembly are going to be tied. We have a problem with how much money we have in our state. Drastic cuts are going to happen,” she said. “They're going to hurt because we're right now cut to the bone, we're going in the marrow.” 


The amendment was projected to pump around $3 billion into the state treasury in its first full year.


The union leader said with the ballot question -- which would have increased income tax for those making at least $250,000 -- property taxes eventually may have even gone down. But now, without that extra money funneling into schools, she thinks property taxes could up in some districts.