Senate Democrats offer plan to help Illinois families

Senate Democrats offer plan to help Illinois families

SPRINGFIELD, IL — With inflation showing no signs of letting up, Senate Democrats say they have a plan to help Illinois families.  

During a news conference Tuesday, Senators released details on several pieces of legislation involving tax cuts and increased spending on early childhood education programs and child care assistance.

In Illinois right now, 3.6 million people receive an earned income tax credit. Senate Bill 3774 would offer that targeted tax relief to 1.2 million more people.

“It will impact the entire state of Illinois,” said Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago. “We will be directing refunds, credits, whatever you want to call it, rebates back into people’s hands.”

Aquino said the move would pump $1 billion in benefits to local economies.

State Sen. Don DeWitte, R-St. Charles, said Republicans have been pushing for tax relief since day one. 

“Democrats want to constantly complain that we are not engaged in the process,” said DeWitte. “We are engaged. They just don’t want to listen to what we have to say.”

Earlier this month, Republican senators unveiled their plan to cap the sales tax on gas to 18 cents a gallon. Without the cap, the sales tax could be as high as 36 cents per gallon.

Not only does Illinois have the second highest gas taxes in the country, the state also tacks on a sales tax on top of state, federal and sometimes local gas taxes.

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said he introduced a tax break for Illinoisans back in December, but the legislation has gone nowhere.

“Calling for a refundable tax credit for Illinois families making under $150,000 a year,” said Demmer.  “The tax credit would provide up to $400 of immediate economic relief.”

In the latest Democratic proposals, funding would be increased for early childhood education, make more families eligible for child care assistance, and create a state child tax credit (CTC).

Illinois currently does not have a CTC at the state level. Allison Flanagan, associate director of Budget and Policy for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, said that in addition to alleviating poverty and stimulating the economy, the refundability feature would create an effective way to make the tax burden fairer.

“This bill would cost only 1% of the state’s total general fund revenue, so it’s such a small drop in the bucket for such a large impact,” said Flanagan.

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