Legislators, community members call for tax relief for Illinois families

CHICAGO – State Senators Omar Aquino and Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) spoke out about their legislation to help working families make ends meet at a Monday press conference.

Aquino showcased Senate Bill 3774, which seeks to increase the earned income tax credit for working families. This bill would incrementally increase the amount of the Earned Income Credit from an amount equal to 18% of the federal earned income tax credit, year over year.

"The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted working families in Illinois. The federal government and we in state government worked to support our communities in need with rental and mortgage assistance, among many other programs, but we need to do more,” Aquino said. “The Earned Income Credit will put money in working-class people's pockets. It's their hard-earned dollars that will support their day-to-day needs.”

State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) also joined advocates from Voices for Illinois Children, Economic Security for Illinois, and other community advocate. The press conference followed Simmons’ introduction of SB2132, which would establish a $600 per child tax credit for the first time in Illinois. The tax cut would primarily help working families who faced unprecedented struggles brought forth by the pandemic.

“Working parents and their children have waited for decades for real relief from constant financial stress,” Simmons said. “The child tax credit and earned income expansion would be a major systemic step forward, and the time to act is now.”

According to Voices’ research, 976,000 Illinois children – or 35% – fall below 200% of the federal poverty level. The statistics are even worse for Black and Latinx families. In 2019, 67% of Black children under age six were in extreme poverty, as were 56% of Latinx children in that age range.

Both measures await additional consideration in the Senate.