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January 9, 2001

Governor Ryan, Mayor Daley Launch Effort to Help Low Income Families Claim State, Federal Earned Income Tax Credit

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today urged low-income workers in Illinois to take advantage of the new state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the federal EITC.

This is the first year for the state credit, which can provide as much as $194 in state income tax relief for working families. The state EITC is in addition to the federal EITC, which can be worth as much as $3,888 for families with two or more children.

"This program puts money in the pocket of our hard working citizens," Gov. Ryan said. "It is an important incentive for people coming off welfare to work, especially to help ease the transition. When you put the federal and state credits together, you have a substantial benefit, one that can really help a family make ends meet."

The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) is conducting an aggressive campaign to market the EITC to Illinois families who may qualify for the credit. The department is providing outreach materials at all DHS local offices and mailing EITC information to more than 815,000 DHS households.

Gov. Ryan has also committed $380,000 in funding for the Tax Counseling Project and Tax Assistance Program, which offer free tax advice and tax return preparation at 30 locations throughout the state.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a critical source of income for families in their transition from welfare to self-sufficiency," said DHS Secretary Linda ReneƩ Baker.

"Nearly155,000 families have worked their way off welfare since July 1997. These families may use the state and federal EITC to improve their quality of life by buying a car, moving to better housing or improving their education," Baker said.

For the 1998 tax year, approximately 742,000 Illinois households received nearly $1.1 billion in EITC payments. Under federal law, EITC payments are not counted in determining eligibility for welfare, food stamps, medical assistance, public housing, WIC, or other government benefits.

The state EITC was part of Governor Ryan's $350 million tax relief package passed last session. The tax relief expanded the Circuit Breaker program, providing tax breaks to senior citizens, and included a property tax rebate for homeowners.


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