CTU Legislative and Policy Director Kurt Hilgendorf emailed this legislative update to rank and file CTU members on Friday, April 8, 2022.

We are down to the wire in Springfield, where the legislature is expected to finish this session’s work by midnight tonight. We’ve shared a variety of positive legislative developments this session, including the COVID sick days bill, the Too Young to Test bill, the bill to reduce required PD hours for licensure cycles that include this year, and the bill allowing retirees to teach in our school communities for an additional 20 days without impacting their pensions, for a total of 140 days of guest teaching.

Today, I wanted to share two additional CTU-backed developments that will put more money into supporting our students’ families and our own pockets.

The state budget agreement includes two permanent changes to the Illinois tax code that make state taxes fairer for working people and benefit educators.

The first measure increases the state’s earned income tax credit (EITC) and expands the number of people eligible. The EITC provides lower-income workers with a lower effective tax rate, thereby giving them more money. Under the new state budget, the state EITC will increase in size to 20% of the federal tax credit, and workers 18-24, workers over 65, and non-citizen Illinois residents will all now be eligible to receive the credit, meaning more than 1 million Illinois residents will have more money to make ends meet. This bill will directly support CTU members like school clerks, technology coordinators and other PSRP positions, and we pushed this bill as part of our larger strategy to support our larger effort to raise financial supports for non-teaching positions.

The second measure is an important one for Illinois educators who pay for school supplies out of their own pockets. The Illinois tax credit for educator expenses will double, going from $250 to $500 annually. This is welcome relief for educators who routinely come out of their own pockets to help make up insufficient classroom supports from CPS.

I want to again personally thank our rank and file members for your solidarity and support for our legislative agenda.

Your advocacy makes our work in Springfield possible, and our unity is the backbone of that work. As this legislative session winds down, know that our solidarity remains an essential anchor in our efforts to fight for the schools our students deserve.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.