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RELEASE: Springfield Denies Tax Relief to 1.27 Million Low-Income Illinoisans
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 31, 2021

CONTACT: Jenna Severson, 616-914-2844

              Joanna Klonsky,, 312-307-0840 

Springfield Denies Tax Relief to 1.27 Million Low-Income Illinoisans

Advocates Continue Fight for Earned Income Credit Expansion

SPRINGFIELD, IL --  The Illinois General Assembly denied access to up to $1,200 in tax relief to more than a million more low-income Illinoisans when it failed to expand the Earned Income Credit (EIC) early this morning. The bill, HB2792/SB 2184, would have expanded the popular and effective tax credit to a projected 500,000 households in every district across the state.

“It’s disgraceful that the State’s budget continues to leave behind residents who most need our support,” said Harish I. Patel, Director of Economic Security for Illinois. This past year saw the sharpest rise in poverty in over 50 years. The General Assembly should be proactively seeking ways to curb rising poverty and inequality, yet they willingly neglected to bolster the Earned Income Credit, a proven anti-poverty tool. Our coalition will continue to fight to expand the Earned Income Credit so caregivers, immigrants, and childless workers have access to the relief they deserve.”

While the General Assembly allocated more than
 $100 million in support for immigrant families, it failed to pass the proposed recurring yearly tax credit to immigrants who file taxes with an Individual Taxation Identification Number (ITIN). It further failed to provide any sort of cash assistance or yearly recurring tax credit to Illinois’ unpaid caregivers and childless workers from 18 to 24 and over 65 years-old, all of whom were also hit hard by the pandemic.

“We applaud how the General Assembly stood up for immigrant families this year and provided much needed financial support,” said Roberto Valdez Jr., Senior External Affairs at Latino Policy Forum. “But there was a significant opportunity missed to make this support more permanent by including a yearly recurring tax credit for ITIN filers and expanding the Earned Income Credit.”

“The struggles that low-income people of color face are rooted in systemic disinvestment in these communities, and have only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Lawrence Benito, Executive Director of ICIRR. “These struggles will continue beyond the pandemic unless we transform our economic system to one centered in a caring economy that ensures everyone is able to thrive and not just survive. We applaud the General Assembly for responding to our members’ call for direct cash assistance as a critical part of the solution for the second year now. In addition, we will continue to demand permanent and transformational economic justice policy change including expansion of the EIC to caregivers and ITIN tax filers who remain excluded.”

Similar to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Illinois’ Earned Income Credit (EIC) offers income tax relief to most workers earning less than $56,000 per year and can total up to $1,200 in a refund check. The bill before the legislature would have expanded Earned Income Credit to a few key, currently ineligible groups; namely, childless workers aged 18-24 and over 65; immigrants who file taxes with an Individual Taxation Identification Number (ITIN) and caregivers of eligible dependents including, children 6 and under, people with disabilities, and older adults.

“Every cent of my income tax refund goes right back to my family. I’ve used the earned income credit to help purchase a car, buy meals for my kids who are home remote learning, and pay down student loan debt,” said Humu Issifu, a caregiver and EIC recipient from Chicago, Illinois. “We need to expand the Earned Income Credit to make sure taxpayers like me and other caregivers are able to build a better life for ourselves and our families, especially in times like these.”

Fighting to expand the Earned Income Credit was a coalition of 35 nonprofit, labor, and philanthropic organizations. The coalition won the endorsement and support of more than 150 Illinois organizations and hundreds of individual Illinoisans, and the bill HB2792/SB 2184 had bipartisan support in the House with 49 cosponsors from both parties, and 30 Senate cosponsors.

“We should invest in the people who make Illinois work,” said Kim Drew, Legislative Advocacy Director for Heartland Alliance. “Our state has one of the most regressive tax systems in the country. The General Assembly should be using all tools at its disposal to tip the scales toward equity by putting cash directly in the hands of unpaid caregivers, ITIN filers, and childless workers who power local economies.”

Advocates from the Coalition to Make EIC Work now turn to Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly to continue their fight for an expanded Earned Income Credit.

The members of the Coalition to Make EIC Work include:


Economic Security for Illinois is a non-partisan non-profit advocating for bold policy solutions that work for working people. We promote ideas that will put money in people's pockets.