Illinois Democrats offer temporary tax relief proposal that Republicans say doesn’t go far enough

Illinois Senate Democrats have unveiled a package of tax relief proposals totaling $1.8 billion. Much of it is temporary. Republicans say there needs to be permanent relief from the state’s high taxes.


Illinoisans pay some of the highest taxes in the nation when it comes to property taxes and gas taxes. With ongoing inflation and high fuel prices, Senate Democrats released a proposal Friday that state Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, said addresses some of that and then some.


“This plan deals with the high cost of groceries and inflation that everyone is seeing, and the high cost of gas,” Sims said during a Friday evening news conference at the capitol. “That’s why you see a very comprehensive plan.”


While some ideas the Democrats offered, like an earned income tax credit, a $500 tax credit for volunteer firefighters and a $250 tax credit for teachers, are permanent, other parts of the package are temporary, like the one-time income tax refund of up to $200 for joint filers and up to a $300 property tax rebate.


There would also be a tax-free back-to-school shopping provision for school supplies and clothing from Aug. 5 to Aug. 15, 2022. Qualifying footwear with a price of $125 or less would also have no state sales tax during that time, the plan proposes.


A suspension of the looming gas tax increase pegged to inflation that hasn’t kicked in or the 1% grocery tax would be for six months.


Sims said lawmakers always could come back after the November election and do more.


“That’s why the Legislature is in session in the fall veto session,” Sims said. “We have the opportunity to look at emerging issues at that time.”


State Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Bloomington, said Illinois taxpayers deserve more.


“Unfortunately it’s a campaign season so one political party says ‘we’re going to throw out some temporary tax relief right before the election,’” Plummer told The Center Square. “We don’t need election year gimmicks, we need true reforms so that Illinois families, Illinois businesses can thrive again.”


Lawmakers are in session through April 8.