SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- After failing to pass a child tax credit last year, advocates returned to Springfield Wednesday to propose a scaled back version of the policy which they say would still reduce child poverty and spur economic growth.
The proposal, contained in House Bill 4917 and Senate Bill 3329, would create a $300 per-child refundable tax credit for families who earn less than the state's median income - about $75,000 per year for couples and $50,000 for single parents.
The policy would cost the state about $300 million, according to Erion Malasi, Illinois policy director for the Economic Security Project, an advocacy group backing the proposal.
A January report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, a union-backed think tank, found that a $300 tax credit would cost the state about $471 million, although that estimate doesn't account for cost reductions in other state programs, like the earned income tax credit or the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, known as WIC - and it assumes that 100 percent of eligible families will claim the credit.
Frank Manzo, an economist with ILEPI and co-author of that report, said a $300 per-child credit would be lower than in the other 15 states that have similar policies. Utah, Minnesota and Oregon - which enacted a similar credit last year - all offer $1,000 or more in credits.
"But it does comport with some budgetary realities in the state of Illinois," he told Capitol News Illinois on Wednesday.
In December, Gov. JB Pritzker urged a "careful" approach to next year's budget after his budget office projected a $891 million deficit.
Omar Aquino, the chief Senate sponsor of the proposal, said Wednesday he hopes the program, if passed, can be scaled up in the future.
The bills, which were introduced Wednesday, await substantive committee assignments, a necessary step before they can be voted on by the full legislature.
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