By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 3, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says taxpayers pledged more than $36 million for private school scholarships on the first day donors became eligible for a new state tax credit.

Lawmakers approved the controversial $75 million tax credit program last year as part of a school funding overhaul.

Tuesday was the first day individuals and corporations could pledge money and apply for the tax credit, which is worth 75 percent of their donation, up to $1 million. The state caps eligible annual donations at $100 million.

Rauner said in a statement Wednesday the “outpouring of generosity” shows many in Illinois believe families should have a choice in where their children attend school.

Critics of the tax credit argue it takes money away from often cash-strapped public schools to benefit the wealthy.

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