Chicago Cardinal Blaise Cupich traveled to Springfield today to voice his support of stricter gun laws. But he also addressed Illinois' new school funding reform, and its tax credit program for private school scholarship donors.
The tax credit program — worth $100 million — was added in the 11th hour to a school funding reform package that had been debated over a period of years. Private school enrollment has been declining, and tax credits became the key to compromise. Cupich was key to making it happen.
However, this program was never publicly debated. Its rollout has been bumpy, with scholarship applicants overwhelming internet capacity of the main scholarship granting organization.
Cupich characterized this desire for scholarships as a sign the program is needed.
"It's very clear that there's a pent-up need there, and there's a growing constituency in favor of this. So I think people need to listen to their constituents about this issue,” he said.
Several Democratic candidates for governor have said they will try to end the tax credit program if elected.