Private school tax credit surprises, riles some in Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — Democratic-leaning Illinois is the latest state to direct taxpayer money to private schools.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled Legislature last week approved a sweeping overhaul of the way Illinois funds schools. It included a new $75 million tax credit for people and companies that donated to private school scholarships.

It’s a development that’s caught some by surprise and brought condemnation from politically powerful teacher unions and Democrats looking to defeat the Republican governor in 2018.

Rauner says the credit is a way for lower-income parents to be able to send their kids to their school of choice.

Unions argue it will take money from public education to benefit the governor’s wealthy friends.

Nearly 20 states have tax credit scholarship programs. Most are Republican-led states, including Florida, Arizona and Indiana.