(The Center Square) – Illinois state Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago, is pushing a permanent state-level child tax credit that some supporters estimate could slash child poverty by as much as 8% while impacting roughly half of all the state’s children overall.
First introduced by Simmons in 2023, Senate Bill 1444 is still up for consideration, with the veteran lawmaker adding he plans to again introduce the bill that seeks to award parents a credit of up to $700 per child during the upcoming budget negotiations in Springfield.
“Why this is important to me is we’re talking about putting dollars back in the pockets of working families, our parents who are struggling mightily to take care of their kids in the context of hyper-inflation,” Simmons told The Center Square. “That’s really important to me because I grew up in a household where I had a single mom and I remember that struggle.”
Simmons said many got a glimpse of what such legislation could do in 2021 when the American Rescue Plan temporarily expanded the child tax credit at the federal level, a move the Biden administration later claimed helped reduce child-poverty to record low levels.
“That really inspired me to champion such a proposal at the state level,” he added, pointing out that at least 15 states across the country have already enacted similar legislation.
More recently, a similar bill with many of the same elements as SB1444 has been picking up steam in the Illinois House.
“We can do this. We can eliminate child poverty, and it’s not rocket science,” Simmons added. “Low-income people pay disproportionate amounts of their income in taxes. When you undue that and create a child tax credit and put more money back in the pockets of parents per child, they have to go out and spend that money. That’s how we lift those kids out of poverty and how we take some stress off those parents.”