Cash Tax Credits

Illinois Families Deserve a Child Tax Credit

05. 16. 2023

The Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition’s 2023 proposal

Families Need A CTC

PROBLEM: Every day it seems that there is less money in the bank. Families are feeling the strain of inflation in food prices, gas prices, and housing. Most costs are the highest they’ve been in 40 years.  Illinois families deserve relief.

SOLUTION: Creating an Illinois Child Tax Credit (CTC) is the most immediate, meaningful and direct tool to help Illinois families with the rising costs of living.

A Policy With Values

The 40+ organizations in the Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition identified four non-negotiable core values that must be be present in any form of a statewide Child Tax Credit:  

  • REFUNDABILITY: The lowest earners should benefit the most, and refundability guarantees that those who are too poor to pay State income taxes still can benefit.
  • PER-CHILD BENEFITS FOR ALL CHILDREN: Means-tested programming punishes large families with benefits caps and is often discriminatory in application. A program for all children can be grown in future years as funding allows.
  • PHASING OUT BENEFITS: Scaling out the Child Tax Credit, as opposed to a strict eligibility cliff, prevents households from getting stuck in gaps without coverage, or left worse off for taking a pay increase. 

ACCESSIBILITY: The program must be accessible for households who are often pushed out of other tax benefits, including households that: file taxes with ITIN numbers; care for permanently disabled children, are unhoused or facing housing challenges.

Impact to the State

A systematic review of cost-benefits analyses conducted on CTC programs nationwide by Cambridge University shows the long-term impact of a CTC on the State’s bottom line: every $1 spent on a refundable credit would save Illinois taxpayers $10 in State costs. 

A CTC would increase children’s economic and educational outcomes, improve healthcare outcomes, and increase public safety – all critical to reducing strain on State resources.

The CTC’s long-term effects are built on the foundation of immediate returns through increasing local economic activity. Federal data shows 80-90% of the CTC is spent immediately and locally to buy goods and services. All told, State spending on a CTC results in a 2.5x multiplier for local spending – for our $300 million proposal, that’s $750 million in local stimulus, something downtowns across the State will need as we face uncertain economic conditions. 

A $300 per-child credit for half of Illinois’ children, based on the Core Values of the coalition, is a step in the right direction to help Illinois families put food on the table and meet basic needs. 

It’s time to make the Illinois tax code work for families, not work against them. 

Supporters of a State CTC

Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition Members include: 

  • Age Guide
  • AARP Illinois
  • Caring Across Generations
  • The Chicago Community Trust
  • Chicago Jobs Council
  • Chicago Urban League
  • Chicago Votes
  • Children’s Advocates for Change
  • Children’s Home and Aid
  • Community Organizing and Family Issues
  • Economic Security for Illinois
  • Economic Security Project
  • Equity and Transformation
  • Grassroots Collaborative
  • Heartland Alliance
  • Hispanic Federation
  • Illinois Action for Children
  • Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
  • Illinois Families for Public Schools
  • Illinois Nurses Association
  • Illinois Public Interest Research Group 
  • Latino Policy Forum
  • League of Women Voters of Illinois
  • LIFT- Chicago
  • Metropolitan Planning Council
  • New America Chicago
  • Parents Organizing to Win Educate and Renew – Policy Action Council Illinois
  • Raise The Floor Alliance
  • Service Employees International Union – Healthcare (SEIU-HCII) 
  • Service Employees International Union – Local 1 (SEIU-1)
  • Service Employees International Union – Local 73 (SEIU-73)
  • Shriver Center on Poverty Law
  • Small Business Majority
  • Stand for Children: Illinois
  • Start Early
  • United Food & Commercial Workers – Local 881 (UFCW – 881)
  • United Way of Illinois
  • United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
  • UpTogether (Family Independence Initiative Chicago)
  • Warehouse Workers for Justice
  • Women Employed
  • Woodstock Institute
  • Worker Center for Racial Justice
  • Young Invincibles