Illinois Tuition Tax Credit

Toney v. Bower and Griffith v. Bower
In Six Separate Rulings, Illinois Courts Find Education Tax Credits Constitutional

When Illinois passed an education tax credit program in 1999, it got not one, but two lawsuits from the teachers unions’ challenging the program as unconstitutional.  In each case, the Institute for Justice intervened to defend the program on behalf of 12 Illinois families, and in six separate decisions state courts found the program constitutional under both the federal Establishment Clause and the Illinois Constitution’s religion provisions.  The Illinois Constitution has both a “compelled support” clause and a Blaine Amendment; neither was found to be an impediment to school choice.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers filed the first case, Griffith v. Bower, in July 1999.  The Illinois Education Association, backed by the National Education Association, the ACLU, People for the American Way and other special interest groups, filed a second challenge (Toney v. Bower) in November 1999.

The Illinois Educational Expenses Tax Credit provides a credit against state income taxes for up to 25 percent of tuition, book fees or lab fees incurred by K-12 students at public or private schools up to a maximum of $500 per family.

Essential Background

Images

Backgrounder: none available

Client Photo

Latest Release: Another Victory for School Choice: Illinois Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal of Tuition Tax Credit Case (June 29, 2001)

Client Video - none available

 

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Launch Release: Illinois Families Ask Court To Dismiss Challenge to Tuition Tax Credits (November 4, 1999)

none available

Case Timeline

Griffith v. Bower – Illinois Federation of Teachers’ Lawsuit

IFT Filed Lawsuit: 

 

July 12, 1999

IJ Intervention Filed: 

 

July 20, 1999

Court Filed:

 

Circuit Court of Franklin County, 2nd Judicial Circuit

Decision(s): 

 

December 7, 1999: Franklin County judge dismissed teachers’ union case, finding the tax credit program constitutional

 

April 3, 2001: Fifth District Court of Appeals upheld lower court’s dismissal of union challenge to tax credits

 

July 21, 2001: Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear appeal, letting appellate court decision stand

Status:

Case Completed

 

 

Toney v. Bower – Illinois Education Association’s Lawsuit

IEA Filed Lawsuit:

November 4, 1999

IJ Intervention Filed:

November 11, 1999

Court Filed:

Circuit Court of Sangamon County, 7th Judicial Circuit

Decision(s):

April 21, 2000: Sangamon County judge upheld constitutionality of tax credit program and dismissed teacher union complaint

 

February 9, 2001: Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld lower court’s dismissal of union challenge to tax credits

 

June 29, 2001: Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear appeal, letting appellate court decision stand

Status:

Case Completed

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: 2nd Illinois Court Dismisses Case Against Tuition Tax Credit; Resounding Victory for School Choice; Teachers' Union Argument Branded "Absurd" (April 21, 2001)

 

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Release: Illinois Court Dismisses Case Against Tuition Tax Credit, Important Victory for School Choice (December 7, 1999)

 

Video: Where does the alphabet end?; (August 23, 2010)

Article: Litigation Update: Another Victory for Choice in Illinois; Liberty & Law (May 2001)

Article: Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Constitutionality of Choice; Liberty & Law (March 2001)

Article: IJ Scores First-Round Victory In Illinois School Choice Fight; Liberty & Law (February 2000)


Release: Latest School Choice Challenge Offers Little New In Substantive Arguments (November 11, 1999)


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