Editor's Note: This article was created by aggregating news articles from Illinois Statehouse News that were written by various Illinois Statehouse News reporters.
Riding the wave of a victory in school reform last year, education activists are gearing up for another push this spring, this time for school vouchers.
Through vouchers, tax dollars are used to help pay for tuition at private schools. Although attempts at instituting a voucher program have been made, the idea has yet to achieve enough support to make it out of the General Assembly.
Past plans in Illinois have targeted vouchers at children enrolled in underperforming schools and those who live in economically depressed areas of the state.
“All of the most serious school choice proposals we have seen over the past couple of years have at least one thing in common; they in their own way try and deliver school choice to students in the worst schools,” said Collin Hitt, a senior policy analyst with Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank.
Illinois Republican lawmakers and businesses blame the state’ staggering economic recovery on income tax increases, but recent indicators suggest other factors at play, too.
Since Illinois increased its corporate income tax by 46 percent from 4.8 percent to 7 percent this past year, several unexpected and expected changes occurred.
The number of limited liability companies, or LLCs, and corporations registered with the state actually increased, from 71,449 in fiscal 2010 to 73,130 in fiscal 2011, according to the Illinois Secretary of State.
The number of non-farming jobs increased by 1 percent, from 5.6 million in 2010 to 5.7 million in 2011, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
And the state unemployment rate increased from 9 percent last January to 10 percent in November, the latest figure available. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate dropped from 9.1 percent at the start of 2011 to 8.7 percent in November, a 4.3 percent decline.