The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a public policy think tank that advocates for reforms supporting economic liberty, limited government, and free-market principles. Its primary areas of focus are budget and taxation, education, health care, and labor issues. 1
IPI is an associate member of the State Policy Network, a coalition of free-market state-level policy organizations. 2 Members of IPI’s board of directors have affiliations with both the Democratic and Republican Parties.
The Illinois Policy Institute opposes the passage of Illinois Constitutional Amendment 1, which will be on the ballot in November 2022. IPI claims that Amendment 1 will give more power to union bosses by allowing collective bargaining agreements to override state law. Though styled as a “workers’ rights amendment,” IPI asserts that Amendment 1 would ban right-to-work in Illinois, make it impossible to pass legislation restricting union organizing or bargaining, and allow unions to bargain over nearly any subject. IPI further claims that Amendment 1 will grant the right to unionize and bargain the same status as the rights to free speech and religion under state law. 3
The Illinois Policy Institute claims that Illinois budgets have not been balanced since 2001 and that the state’s debt continues to worsen despite billions of dollars of federal relief, mostly because of increased state workforce pension costs. IPI further claims that the budget passed by lawmakers for fiscal year 2022 is also out-of-balance. IPI proposes a hold harmless pension reform plan that would save Illinois $50 billion through 2045. 4
The Illinois Policy Institute advocates for education reforms that include consolidating district-level administration and controlling the growth rate of public pensions. It supports the Classroom First Act, which aims to consolidate the number of Illinois school districts to reduce general administration costs. In addition, IPI states that nearly 40 percent of Illinois’ education budget is used for teacher pensions, effectively reducing the number of teachers and their salaries, and that state spending on teacher pensions has increased 200 percent since 2000 while classroom spending has only increased by 20 percent during the same period. 5
Illinois Policy is the lobbying and advocacy organization partner of the Illinois Policy Institute. 6
The Illinois Policy Institute is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. While IPI does not disclose its donors, tax filings confirm donations from the Searle Freedom Trust ($200,000 in 2019), 7 the State Policy Network ($190,00 in 2017), 8 and the Chicago Community Trust ($150,500 in 2017). 9
Adam Schuster is the senior budget and tax research director at IPI and a former senior policy advisor at the Illinois Department of Labor. 10
Emily Rose McCallister is the vice president of external relations at the Institute and former vice president of development at the Bill of Rights Institute. 11
Orphe Divounguy is the chief economist at the Institute and a former economist at the Buckeye Institute. 12
Board of Directors
John Tillman is the chair of the Illinois Policy Institute and the founder of both Illinois Policy and the Liberty Justice Center. 13 Tillman also chairs the Franklin News Foundation. 14
Matt Paprocki is the president and COO of IPI and chair of the Illinois Policy PAC. Paprocki formerly served on the Illinois Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and on the Task Force on Charter School Funding under then-Governor Pat Quinn (D). 15
Sara Albrecht sits on the boards of Empower Illinois and the Liberty Justice Center. 16
Sherry Street is vice president of policy advancement at the American Legislative Exchange Council and former external relations officer at IPI. 17
- “Frequently Asked Questions.” Illinois Policy. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/faqs/.
- “The Network: Illinois.” State Policy Network. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://spn.org/directory/#IL.
- Smith, Mailee. “What You Need to Know About Giving Unions Special Treatment in Illinois’ Constitution.” Illinois Policy. October 13, 2021. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/what-you-need-to-know-about-giving-unions-special-treatment-in-illinois-constitution/.
- Carlson, Justin. “Illinois’ Financial Condition Worsens Despite Receiving Billions in Federal Aid.” Illinois Policy. October 1, 2021. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-financial-condition-worsens-despite-receiving-billions-in-federal-aid/.
- Miller, Ann. “2 Things Waukegan Can Do to Nurture Students’ Futures.” Illinois Policy. October 13, 2021. Accessed September 16, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/2-things-waukegan-can-do-to-nurture-students-futures/.
- “Our Story.” Illinois Policy. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/our-story/.
- Searle Freedom Trust, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2019, Part XV, Line 3a.
- State Policy Network, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule I, Part II.
- Chicago Community Trust, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule I, Part II.
- “Adam Schuster.” Illinois Policy. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/author/aschuster/.
- “Emily Rose McCallister.” Illinois Policy. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/author/erose/.
- “Orphe Divounguy.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/policyquantsphd/.
- “John Tillman.” Illinois Policy. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/author/john-tillman/.
- “Board Members.” Franklin News Foundation. Accessed September 21, 2021. https://www.franklinnews.org/about/board-members/.
- “Matt Paprocki.” Illinois Policy. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/author/mpaprocki/.
- “Sara Albrecht.” Illinois Policy. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/author/sabrecht/.
- “Sherry Street.” Illinois Policy. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/author/sstreet/.