Illinois Policy Institute

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Illinois Policy Institute
Focus Free-Market Principles
Key people John Tillman, CEO
Budget Revenue: $3,701,372
Expenses: $3,658,188
(FYE December 2012)[1]
Slogan Policy Changes Lives
Location 190 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois

The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is an Illinois-based think tank whose stated vision is "to make Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation and to become a free enterprise leader for the rest of America."[2]

According to the group's website, it seeks to "define the challenges facing Illinois residents, study how public policy can improve the situation and then craft positive, innovative solutions based on free enterprise principles."[3]

As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, IPI is independent and not affiliated with any political party. They "work with anyone who supports our values on a particular issue, regardless of political or ideological affinity, including Democrats, Republicans and independents." The Institute does not endorse candidates or donate to political parties.[3] The organization has been described as ideologically conservative[4] and libertarian.[5]


Personnel at IPI include:[6]

  • John Tillman, CEO. His background is as an entrepreneur in the area of political activism, retailing, e-commerce and internet access. In 2011, he won the Roe Award from the State Policy Network for his leadership, innovation and accomplishments in the world of public policy.
  • Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president. She directs the Institute's operations, legislative outreach, and policy research. Rasmussen specializes on budget and tax issues, health care, and economic competitiveness. Previously, she worked with the National Taxpayers Union.
  • Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy. He develops policy suggestions with a focus on Illinois budget and tax policy, health care, pension reform, education policy and job creation.

Recurring projects[edit]

The Institute is known for releasing an annual alternative state budget,[7] a "Piglet Book"[8] detailing what it sees as wasteful government spending, regular reports on charter school achievement as well as a Legislators' Guide to the Issues.[9]


The Illinois Policy Institute is a 501(c) organization. The Institute obtains all of its funding from private donors and foundations. It does not accept government funding of any kind.

Linked Groups[edit]

The Institute recently launched a 501(c)(4) social welfare arm, Illinois Policy Action.[10] The practice of separating social welfare and charitable arms has become more common amongst American think tanks since it was pioneered by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.[11]

The Illinois Policy Institute is not affiliated with a political action committee. According to its FAQs, "The Institute does not endorse candidates or donate to political parties."[12]

Relations with elected officials[edit]

IPI has a record of working with members of both parties on initiatives ranging from transparency and open government to school choice.

In an attempt to increase transparency in state spending, IPI worked with Illinois State Sens. Martin Sandoval [D-Chicago] and Kirk Dillard [R-Westmont] to put data on state grants to non-profit groups in an online database of Illinois state spending. It would also have required grantees to post performance evaluations online.[13]

IPI partnered with then-Illinois State Senator James Meeks [D-Chicago] on a bi-partisan school choice bill in 2010. The bill, which would have allowed some Chicago students to receive vouchers to attend private schools, advanced through the state Senate, but did not pass the Illinois House.[14]


  1. ^ "Charity Rating". Charity Navigator.  Also see "Quickview data". GuideStar. "Total Revenue: $1,791,057; Total Expenses: $1,732,183 [FYE December 2010]" 
  2. ^ "About Us". Illinois Policy Institute. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Cody, John (March 8, 2012). "Conservative Group Presents Alternative State Budget Plan". CBS Chicago. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Dear Standard & Poor's". The Chicago Tribune. June 25, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ IPI alternative state budget
  8. ^ "Your Tax Dollars - Loaded With Pork". November 20, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ Legislators' Guide
  10. ^ Hinz, Greg (December 23, 2013). "Rauner gets a boost in GOP race — but how big?". Crain’s Chicago Business. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ Khimm, Suzy (January 24, 2013). "The right’s latest weapon: think-tank lobbying muscle". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Brino, Anthony (May 8, 2012). "Bill seeks public performance reports from non-profits". Illinois Statehouse News. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  14. ^ McGurn, William (February 22, 2010). "Preaching Choice in Obama's Hometown". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°52′47″N 87°37′58″W / 41.8798°N 87.6327°W / 41.8798; -87.6327