FILE - Gov. J.B. Pritzker

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks from his office in Springfield on Wednesday.

(The Center Square) – Groups impacted by what the governor calls “corporate loopholes” are speaking out against the proposals to end the programs.

To balance his proposed budget, Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants lawmakers to modify several programs.

One initiative the governor laid out was to reset the tax credit for private school scholarships at 40%. Pritzker’s budget documents listed that as a “corporate loophole.”

“This is not a corporate loophole,” Catholic Conference of Illinois’ Zach Wichmann told WMAY. “Its allowed individuals to donate to a program, the only state program that’s serving low-income and working-class families’ kids, to allow them to choose whatever school they want, whatever school is best for them, and in the middle of this pandemic, honestly, the schools that have been in five days a week, everyday since August for in-person learning. It’s an important program that should be expanded, not restricted.”

Pritzker’s proposal bring the state an estimated $14 million. While that may be a drop in the bucket of the overall state budget of nearly $42 billion, Wichmann said that will limit interest in the incentive and cost thousands of families the opportunity to find quality education.

There are nine so-called “loopholes” the governor wants to close for an impact of $930 million.

Illinois Retail Merchants’ Association President Rob Karr said the retail discount credit isn’t a loophole, it’s a partial reimbursement for stores collecting and remitting sales taxes to the state.

The governor’s proposal would cap that discount at $1,000 a month for an overall impact of $73 million.

Karr said the governor talks a lot about helping small businesses recover from the pandemic, “but on the other hand he ignores the additional cost that he’s put upon them, not just in his budget address, but for example two minimum wage increases brought upon them during this and. That is not insignificant.”

Another Pritzker proposal speeds up the expiration of biodiesel exemptions. The Illinois Fuel Retail Association said that would add around 20 cents to a gallon of diesel fuel.

“Ending this incentive would also be incredibly damaging to our vital agriculture community in Illinois and hurt my small business members at a time when it’s so easy for customers to drive across state lines to fill up their vehicles,” said IFRA CEO Josh Sharp.

Other proposed “loopholes” the governor laid out:

  • Capping corporate NOL deductions for a $314 million impact;
  • Align treatment of foreign-source dividends to treatment of domestic source dividends for $107 million impact;
  • End accelerated depreciation from former President Donald Trump’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act for an impact of $214 million;
  • Bring back the corporate franchise tax for an impact of $30 million;
  • Eliminate add-on income tax credits for construction jobs for a $16 million impact; and
  • Remove production-related tangible personal property from sales tax exemptions for an impact of $56 million.

Illinois Manufacturers' Association President Mark Denzler said all combined takes the state in the wrong direction.

“What we’ve seen in other states are tax reductions, less onerous regulations, increased liability protection,” Denzler said. “Illinois is going in the other direction with higher taxes, more regulations and no protection.”

Lawmakers must approve each of the nine proposed tax credit changes to balance the governor’s proposed budget.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.