Senator Laura Ellman presents her bill during a Senate committeeCapitol News Illinois - March 14, 2019 | original article

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate is poised to take up a bill that would make it easier for some seniors to access a state program that limits property tax increases on their homes.

Under current law, people age 65 and older with incomes up to $65,000 can claim the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption, which effectively freezes the taxable valuation of their homes so that their tax bills cannot go up simply because the market value of their home rises.

Senate Bill 1346, which cleared the Senate Revenue Committee on Wednesday, would expand that slightly, starting in the 2019 tax year, by allowing seniors to deduct from their income whatever money they spend on Medicare premiums.

That would allow some people with incomes just above the $65,000 cap to claim the exemption.

Sen. Laura Ellman, a Naperville Democrat and lead sponsor of the bill, said it would benefit seniors who are “on the cusp” of the income limit, but she said she couldn’t estimate how many seniors it would benefit.

Premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor’s office visits, are currently $135.50 per month for people with incomes below $85,000 a year. Premiums for Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs, currently average $33.19 per month.

That means passage of the bill would raise the income cap for the senior citizens homestead exemption by around $2,024 a year for an individual who purchases both Medicare options, or $4,048 a year for a couple taking both options.

The bill now is waiting for action by the full Senate.

Senator Ellman speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) released the following statement in response to Gov. Pritzker’s budget address:

“The plan laid out by the governor today appears to put us on a path toward a responsible budget,” Ellman said. “We need a budget that provides fiscal stability, allows for our state to grow, and gives citizens and businesses confidence in sticking with Illinois. With increased investments in our public schools and our colleges and universities and responsible solutions for paying off our debts, this budget does just that.”

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Sen. Laura EllmanSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) was sworn in to the Illinois State Senate during the Senate inauguration today in Springfield.

“It’s an honor to represent Illinois’ 21st Senate District,” Ellman said. “I’m looking forward to bringing new representation to the district and a fresh perspective to Springfield.”

“In the Senate, I will work to ensure the state pays it fair share for our schools so we can end the overreliance on property taxes, and I will fight for real reforms like enacting term limits for legislative leaders, ending gerrymandering and limiting the power of lobbyists and corporations,” Ellman said.

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