New Legislation Proposed by Illinois House Republicans Would Fund College MAP Grants Without Raising Taxes

HB4622 creates a tax amnesty program in early 2010

Illinois House Republicans are proposing legislation that would allow delinquent taxpayers to pay what they owe in income and sales taxes to the state during a month and a half period in early 2010 with NO interest or penalty.

The revenue would be used to pay for college scholarships in the spring semester that were eliminated from the FY2010 state budget.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimates this amnesty program for individuals and corporations that didn’t pay their taxes on time between June 20, 2002 and January 15, 2010 could bring in approximately $104.9 million in revenue owed that would be deposited into the Illinois Student Assistance Commission Monetary Award Program fund according to the legislation.

In the proposal, the window to pay taxes without delinquency payments would open from January 1, 2010 until February 15, 2010.

Rep. Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) is sponsoring the bill in the Illinois House and hopes to get it called for a vote during the upcoming veto session to ensure the program is established and students receive assistance through the MAP grant funding this spring.

“Due to state budget reductions, the MAP grants were only funded for the fall semester,” said Pritchard. “An additional $200 million is needed to fund scholarships in the spring semester. This bill will partially fill the gap.”

“Amnesty programs give tax offenders incentive to pay what they owe during a relatively short period of time by waiving interest and penalties,” Pritchard added. “The state will collect more than one-hundred million dollars in cash quickly.”

According to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, almost 140,000 students receive assistance through the MAP program. Grants are awarded based upon financial need and can total up to $4,968 per year.

“We pledged to work with the governor and other legislators in the General Assembly to come up with potential revenue sources to pump money into the MAP grants fund that tens of thousands of students in our state are counting on for the spring semester,” House Minority Leader Tom Cross said. “We want to be able to fund the MAP grants in the spring, and we will continue to work with the other leaders in the state to come up with solutions. With this legislation—we’re halfway there.”

The last tax amnesty program, established through legislation in 2003, collected $279.7 million in delinquent taxes for the State of Illinois.

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