Gov. Quinn Signs Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit Bill

According to the Associated Press, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a new bill into law Tuesday that expands the state's earned-income tax credit. The tax credit aims to help working and poor families by increasing it from 5 percent of the federal credit to 7.5 percent next year and 10 percent the next year.

The credit would mean about $100 a year for each family. Here are some facts about the bill and the other efforts Illinois has taken to help working families.

* In 2010, more than 2.5 million people in Illinois benefited from the earned income tax credit and the new increase will mean an addition $105 million for working families in the state, according to the State of Illinois.

* A study conducted by the Brookings Institution in 2006 found that for every dollar families save through the credit turns into $1.58 of local economic activity.

* WBEZ reported the earned income tax credit will impact about 935,000 households in Illinois and a family of five earning less than $48,000 will now qualify under the new expanded credit.

* The credit was also part of a bigger tax break package that also included offering additional breaks to CME Group and Sears in attempt to keep both companies operating in the state.

* The Illinois House of Representatives approved the tax credit in mid-December after separating the break for families from the break for companies, according to ABC 7 Local.

* Despite the House approving it, many Republicans opposed the tax relief saying the $100 million cost to the state was too high in light of the current economic situation.

* The Illinois Department of Human Services added its partnership with the Center for Economic Progress' Tax Counseling Project helps provide working families with free tax preparation assistance.

* The services are free to families with incomes less than $50,000 and individuals with incomes less than $25,000 with nine locations in Chicago and 17 other locations throughout Illinois.

* Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the American Opportunity Tax Credit was recently renewed and allows Illinois families to receive a credit of up to $2,500 per student, according to Sen. Dick Durbin's Office.

* This college tuition credit specifically helps working and middle-class families by providing $1 back on their taxes for every $1 spent on tuition for the first $2,000 spent and then 25 percent of the next $2,000 up to $2,500.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.