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The "Millionaire's Tax" and Education Funding

School Funding | 07/30/2014

Brian Herman
Marketing and Communications Director

Brian helps to promote Stand’s work, build our base of support, and move us closer to achieving our mission.

Governor Quinn recently signed the “millionaire’s tax” referendum – a non-binding resolution allowing voters to express their support for a 3% surcharge on income over $1 million. Supporters of this proposal estimate it would raise $1 billion for education distributed on a per pupil basis. This $550 per student would provide much-needed revenue for schools, but it would be distributed in a regressive way that ignores the funding disparities in Illinois schools.

Illinois’s funding gap between rich and poor school districts is the second-highest in the country. This regressive structure hurts the most at-risk children – those who most need access to a great education.

When it comes to education funding, Stand for Children is fighting for two equally-important elements: adequate funding and equitable distribution. That is why we're strong supporters of Senate Bill 16, which distributes funds more fairly and effectively throughout Illinois by modernizing the state funding formula.

The state education budget has been cut by more than $1 billion over the past five years.  The policy put forth in the referendum Gov. Quinn signed would help restore some of that revenue. At the same time, even that amount would fall short of fully funding the foundation level of General State Aid while maintaining our flawed funding formula.

This is an important budget debate about revenue policies and spending priorities.  Now more than ever we need to keep pressing our case for adequate and equitable education funding so every child in Illinois can attend a great school that prepares them for the future.

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