SPRINGFIELD Speaking alongside other advocates for Illinois children and families, Illinois state Sen. Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) argued the necessity of his plan to institute a $600-per-child income tax credit at the state level before the Illinois Senate Revenue Committee Wednesday.
Simmons' legislation, Senate Bill 2132, would offer a tax credit of $600 per child for single parents making less than $40,000 annually or jointly filing parents earning less than $60,000. The credit amount would decrease incrementally for families in higher income brackets.
"We have to face the reality that working families in particular have struggled through this pandemic, and targeted relief is what they need to recover," Simmons said. "Supporting businesses is important, but any economic recovery effort we make at the state level cannot leave our working families behind."
Mitch Lifson, Vice President of Voices for Illinois Children, spoke in favor of the legislation, citing its ability to help families in poverty in Illinois, who are disproportionately families of color.
"This legislation makes a long-term commitment to our children and families," Lifson said during testimony. "Every child deserves the opportunity to grow up safe, healthy and well-educated, and this legislation will further that goal."
Faith Arnold, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare, also spoke out on how a tax credit could help families who have been struggling with child care throughout the pandemic.
"Working parents have already had to make far too many sacrifices during this pandemic, and their children with them," Arnold said. "This child tax credit would support precisely those residents who need the most help. It's just the right thing to do."
Janet Soto, a resident of Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, spoke about her experiences as she chose to remain home after her child care provider shut its doors due to the pandemic. While Soto said her family is getting by, she's spoken with many others who were already struggling with employment and child care, and now are doing so in ways deeply exacerbated by the pandemic.
"My heart just breaks knowing people that were already on the edge of needing real, substantial help, have now been pushed far over that edge, and it's going to take time for economic recovery to happen," Soto said. "They need the support this Senate bill would provide."
Senate Bill 2132 passed the Senate Revenue Committee and awaits consideration before the full Senate.