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Illinois House GOP aims to fight inflation with tax credit

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 4:08 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Milk, bread, turkey and diapers - the effects of inflation have been wide-ranging for consumers.

Overall inflation is at 6.2%, and Republicans estimate the average family grocery bill has gone up by 5.4%.

Two Illinois House Republicans hope the state can provide some relief by giving people a refundable tax credit. Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) and Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) introduced their plan Tuesday morning.

They want single-filers making up to $75,000 to get a $200 tax credit. Joint filers making up to $150,000 would get $400 under the plan, and heads of households bringing in up to $112,500 would get $200.

They expect this proposal to cost roughly $1.4 billion. But where would that money come from?

Demmer and Bourne said lawmakers should consider using remaining funds from the American Rescue Plan, repurpose federal dollars that went to capital projects in Democratic districts in the current budget, or use additional revenue coming into Illinois.

“$400 won’t make all the problems go away, but it could have a positive impact,” Demmer said. “It could be an extra week or two of groceries. It could be an extra few utility bills.”

The Republicans explained this credit would go toward taxes filed in 2022. GOP members haven’t filed specific language for this proposal. However, Demmer hopes to have the bill introduced before lawmakers return Jan. 4 to Springfield.

Bourne argued this should be a priority in both chambers.

“This is just one proposal,” Bourne said. “But we would be looking at a comprehensive legislative package that should be bipartisan to relieve this tax burden that Illinois families are feeling.”

However, the Pritzker administration said Republicans have refused to engage in meaningful solutions to help families deal with economic challenges throughout this pandemic. Press Secretary Jordan Abudayyeh says the administration put billions of dollars of rental and mortgage assistance, small business grants and utility assistance into the hands of working families without any support from Republicans.

“Adding to the irony is the fact that Republicans staunchly opposed the fair tax which would have provided tax relief to 97% of Illinoisans,” Abudayyeh said. “Since Republicans in Illinois now support providing direct relief for the costs that are weighing on working families, we look forward to their support of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and would urge them to share their views on this with their counterparts in Washington.”

Still, the House GOP members said they have consistently fought for relief for businesses, local governments and individual taxpayers. Demmer said the administration should have never put $1 million of federal relief toward capital projects to help Democratic allies. Instead, he emphasized that money should only go to COVID-19 relief efforts.

“It’s certainly not too late,” Demmer said. “You don’t have to travel very far to find an Illinois family today who is buying groceries or doing some Christmas shopping and feeling the pressure of inflation. They’re feeling the pressure of rising prices, feeling the pressure of rising taxes. It’s not too late for us to deliver relief to those families.”

Meanwhile, Republicans feel the price tag for the Build Back Better plan keeps growing. Some note many of the provisions may come from a “Democratic wish list” and stray from the initial goal of building back the country’s economy. Demmer said people should be cautious about the way Biden’s plan may affect inflation and taxes.

“Look at the amount of spending that’s come out of Washington in the last couple of years,” Demmer said. “That’s several trillion dollars. It was unexpected, it wasn’t something we planned for. We had to respond to an emergency. But we should be cautious before we just continue those multi-trillion-dollar spending bills.”

A spokesperson for House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said they had not seen the House GOP plan. However, the Republicans hope to talk with colleagues across the aisle to gain support for the inflation tax credit over the next few weeks.

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