A Letter from Senator Mike Simmons

Dear Neighbor,

This spring the Illinois General Assembly can take a big step forward in reducing child poverty. Our state can become the fifteenth in the country to enact a permanent child tax credit, a bold and effective way to relieve working parents of the indignity and strain of choosing which bills to pay and which necessities to provide for their families. Doing so makes economic sense and could put nearly a million households on a path to a more dignified set of outcomes.

I grew up in a household in our far northside district where we struggled. I remember my mom up late at the kitchen table trying to pay bills while raising me and my sister, running her own salon in Rogers Park, while going to school for her Associate’s degree. That’s why three years ago when I became your state senator, one of the first bills I introduced called for a permanent and refundable child tax credit that could help struggling families like mine.

My family had to forgo doctor’s visits in order to make rent and keep food on the table. No family in our district or anywhere else in Illinois should ever have to make painful choices like these, and we owe it to all Illinois children and parents to create a child tax credit which will put hard-earned dollars back in the pockets of those families. We also learned recently from a January study published by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute that doing so would directly impact more than half of all Illinois households.

I’ve been proud to champion and lead the charge for a state-level child tax credit along with our 7th District Single Mom’s People’s Legislative Council, a coalition of 40 grassroots community organizations around the state, and a growing and diverse roster of my colleagues who also recognize that now is the time to enact a child tax credit. My proposal, Senate Bill 1444, would establish a $700 refundable child tax credit, per dependent, for households earning under the median income, or $50,000 for single filers and $75,000 for joint filers. The credit would start to phase out above those income thresholds. The bill would reduce child poverty in Illinois by a sizable 8 percent according to a January 2024 study by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute. That same report shows that for every dollar a household gets back in child tax credits, two and a half times as much is immediately spent in the local economy on much needed basic necessities. This would generate more than $1.5 billion in economic output and create nearly 8,000 jobs. Illinois would also experience fiscal savings in future years as families would rely less on safety net programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other programs that already keep many more households from falling under the poverty line.

Simmons_CTCCaption: Senator Simmons hosts a press conference at the State Capitol advocating for a permanent Child Tax Credit in Feb. 2023.

Income taxes would also be reduced for households eligible for the child tax credit. According to the same report published by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, my bill would result in an average individual income tax cut of 71%. Most single parents would see their income tax become a tax refund and the average two-parent household would see their income taxes almost entirely covered by a $700 Child Tax Credit. This would have a sizable impact locally as one out of three households in our district is headed by a single parent.

Finally, a state-level child tax credit would also improve racial equity. One out of six children in Illinois lives in poverty according to 2022 Census data and that number more than doubles for Black children. We need to be aggressive in naming this disparity and providing economic relief to these children and their families. A state as rich as ours can do better than the status quo.

When the federal child tax credit was expanded, we saw a marked 46 percent decrease in child poverty across the nation in 2021. However, those gains were lost when the federal child tax credit expansion ended in 2022. We also know that those households spent money on basic needs such as food, child care, overdue medical visits, rent and light bills. So we should learn from what we saw then and include a permanent state-level child tax credit in this spring’s state budget. I will continue to lead the fight to make it happen, and will continue to lift up 7th District parents, caretakers, advocates, and children who know the power of this vital policy and have spoken up and worked with me on it since I took office.

Finally, I was elated to reconvene our 7th District Single Moms People’s Legislative Council on Thursday evening to reflect on their overall advocacy with my office in pushing aggressively for a child tax credit, the single parents bill of rights, and other forward-thinking and smart progressive policy that has become the hallmark of our 7th District People’s Legislative Councils.

PLC SingleMomsCaption: Senator Simmons reconvened his Single Moms People’s Legislative Council this week on Thursday, Feb. 15 to discuss collective child tax credit work.

PLC SingleMomsCaption: Senator Simmons with members of the 7th District Single Moms People’s Legislative Council on Thursday, Feb. 15.

If you are interested in learning more about my proposal for a $700 Child Tax Credit, several resources are listed below, including news articles and the Illinois Economy Policy Institute’s detailed report. You can also reach out to my office to share your feedback and ask questions.


Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

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