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Lawmaker Calls For Child Tax Credit

Ken Lowe
State Senate Democrats
State Sen. Mike Simmons speaks at a press conference about his child tax credit proposal.

An Illinois lawmaker is proposing a measure to create a state income tax credit as high as $600 dollars per child. 

The measure is one of the first pieces of legislation filed by newly appointed Democratic Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago. 

Simmons said the bill would create “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring economic relief to struggling parents.”

“Prior to the pandemic, they were already trying to navigate an economy that is structurally stacked against them, where you can be working 40 hours a week and still not be able to live a dignified life,’’ he said.

The proposal would give a full $600 dollar tax credit per child to single parents making $40,000 dollars a year or less, and jointly filing couples who earn up to $60,000 annually.

The tax credit would be smaller for higher earners and eligibility would be cut off for single parents earning $64,000 dollars or more per year and couples who earn $84,000.

But Republicans in the General Assembly are pushing back on the child tax credit proposal pointing out that Gov. J.B. Pritzker has already put a slew of tax credits on the chopping block to help balance Illinois’ budget.

Republican state Sen. Don DeWitte of St. Charles said approving new tax credits this year would be difficult to justify as lawmakers weigh whether to follow Pritzker’s recommendations for eliminating more than a billion dollars in annual tax credits. 

“While the Senator Simmons’ intent is certainly understood and appreciated, it has the wrong effect on the state budget,” he said.

This year’s budget is projected to have a $3 billion deficit. 

The child tax credit, which would be worth up to $600 per child, would cost an estimated $750 million in annual tax revenue.

If approved, the credit could be applied when parents file taxes next year.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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