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Bipartisan Support For Earned Income Tax Credit, But Budget Stands In Way

Brian Mackey/WUIS

  With less than a week remaining in the Illinois General Assembly's spring session, advocates are still working to double the state's tax credit for the working poor.

Advocates say the Earned Income Tax Credit is more effective at lifting people out of poverty than welfare or raising the minimum wage.

More than 900,000 Illinois workers receive the state's version of the EITC, which is currently worth 10 percent of the federal version of the credit.

Emily Miller, with Voices for Illinois Children, says doubling Illinois' EITC from 10 to 20 percent could help keep people off government assistance. For a family with two dependent children and a full-time minimum wage worker...

"This family would have $1,000 that they can use to buy childcare, transportation, things that the family needs," Miller said. "And those are things that actually keep the family able to work."

Miller says Illinois can pay for the program for at least two years by closing a so-called "loophole" in corporate tax policy that incentivizes Illinois-based companies to manufacture products out if state.

The plan to double the credit has bipartisan support, but the broader fight over the state budget and income tax rates has made passing any sort of tax legislation a challenge.

Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. She's been dedicated to the statehouse beat since interning at NPR Illinois in 2014, with subsequent stops at outlets including WILL-AM/FM, Law360, The Daily Line and a temporary stint at political blog Capitol Fax before returning to the station in 2020.
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