Community, legislators rally to urge tax relief for Illinois workers and families
Proposed legislation would impact 4.8M + Illinoisans, create $1B in economic benefits
CHICAGO, IL (March 21, 2022)—Legislators, advocates and community members gathered at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago to urge the State of Illinois to adopt a tax cut for low-income workers and families this year. The crowd offered support for a bill to expand the state’s existing Earned Income Credit (EIC) to certain ineligible workers and to create a new state Child Tax Credit. The proposal would benefit more than 4.8 million Illinoisans -- including nearly 2 million children-- and create over one billion dollars in local economic impacts at a time when household costs are rising and the pandemic continues to threaten communities.
"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. 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,” said State Senator Omar Aquino, chief sponsor of SB3774.
The bill, SB3774 (Aquino) / HB4920 (Ammons), expanding Illinois’ Earned Income Credit (EIC) would respond to the urgent financial need many low-income families feel by offering a tax credit, amounting to an average of $600 or more in a refund.
Similar to the popular federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the current state EIC offers income tax relief to most workers earning less than $56,000 per year and would total up to $1,200 in a tax return. SB3774 / HB4920 would expand Illinois’ Earned Income Credit to include 1.2 million Illinoisans who are currently ineligible for the refund—namely, childless workers aged 18-24 and over age 65, as well as immigrants who file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). It would also create a statewide Child Tax Credit of at least $600 for parents or legal guardians of children under 17. Finally, over three years, it would increase the credit amount from the current 18% match of the federal EITC to 25%, offering hundreds of dollars more each year to families who need it.
“We need to expand the Earned Income Credit to include people who do their taxes with an ITIN, and start to reverse these discriminatory practices. But it's not just ITIN filers. The young, the elderly, families who live their lives one check at a time, and families who have no income also suffer from this injustice. This year, politicians in Springfield have the opportunity to make this change! We are pushing hard to make sure they do the right thing,” said Blanca Beltran, a community member and leader with Logan Square Neighborhood Association and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Ms. Beltran was one of four community leaders who spoke at Monday’s rally, and one of nearly 5 million Illinois residents who would benefit from the bill itself. Another rally speaker, SEIU Healthcare - Illinois/Indiana Executive Vice President Erica Bland-Durosinmi, indicated the importance of the tax credit for women of color, who have experienced the most profound burden of the pandemic and who comprise a significant portion of the state’s low-income workforce.
"Illinois has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild an economy that works for all. We must build upon what works -- putting money in people’s wallets -- to ensure everyone can recover and thrive in the wake of the pandemic. Our communities cannot wait for this relief and that's why I am urging my colleagues and the Governor to support an expansion to Illinois' Earned Income Credit today,” said Representative Carol Ammons, chief sponsor of HB4920.
The tax credit would offer permanent tax relief to families and workers in the most precarious financial situations. In the three months since the federal Child Tax Credit expired, the Urban Institute reports that 138,000 Illinois children who had been lifted from poverty from the federal Child Tax Credit have since fallen back into poverty. While not as generous as the federal credit, the proposed legislation would help to curb this trend by offering assistance directly to families who are asset-constrained.
The bill enjoys bipartisan support from 53 members of the Illinois House of Representatives, and 16 members of the Illinois Senate. Leaders from the General Assembly in attendance at the rally were Senator Omar Aquino, Representative Carol Ammons, Senator Mike Simmons, Representative Sonya Harper, Representative Michael Zalewski, Senator Ram Villivalam, Senator Celina Villanueva, Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Representative Delia Ramirez. Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi also joined to indicate his support.
Monday’s rally was coordinated by a group of advocates from the Illinois Cost-Of-Living Refund Coalition. The coalition includes 43 (and counting) nonprofit, labor, consumer advocate, immigrant rights, and grassroots, community-based organizations across the state. Present at the rally were leaders from Economic Security for Illinois, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Workers Center for Racial Justice, Community Organizing and Family Issues, Young Invincibles, Chicago Votes, UpTogether, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881, SEIU - Local 1, SEIU- Local 73, SEIU- HCII, Children’s Home and Aid, Grassroots Collaborative, United Way of Illinois, Latino Policy Forum, Shriver Center, Heartland Alliance, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, Arab American Family Services, Access Living, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Casa Michoacan, Communities United, Enlace Chicago, Instituto Del Progreso Latino, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Mano-A-Mano Family Resource Project, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, PASO- West Suburban Action Project, Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, United African Organization, and Southwest Organizing Project, among others.
Economic Security for Illinois builds collective power to advance policy solutions that make Illinois’ economy the most equitable and inclusive in the country.
The Coalition to Make EIC Work is a project of the Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition. Led by Economic Security for Illinois, this coalition of 40+ unions, community organizations, and consumer protection groups includes:
Caring Across Generations
The Chicago Community Trust
Chicago Jobs Council
Chicago Urban League
Children's Home and Aid
Community Organizing and Family Issues
Economic Security for Illinois
Economic Security Project
Equity and Transformation
Illinois Action for Children
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Illinois Families for Public Schools
Illinois Nurses Association
Illinois Public Interest Research Group
Latino Policy Forum
Metropolitan Planning Council
New America Chicago
Parents Organizing to Win Educate and Renew - Policy Action Council Illinois
Raise The Floor Alliance
Service Employees International Union - Healthcare (SEIU-HCII)
Service Employees International Union - Local 1 (SEIU-1)
Service Employees International Union - Local 73 (SEIU-73)
Shriver Center on Poverty Law
Small Business Majority
United Food & Commercial Workers - Local 881 (UFCW - 881)
United Way of Illinois
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
UpTogether (Family Independence Initiative Chicago)
Voices for Illinois Children
Warehouse Workers for Justice
Worker Center for Racial Justice