SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, backed a series of measures to spur economic growth in the Quad Cities during his second legislative session. Working to lift up working families, Halpin also championed efforts to crack down on corporations that send local jobs out of state and to foreign countries, reform the state’s tax code to cut taxes on the middle class, and pass a bipartisan, balanced budget that holds the line on taxes and spending.
“I have worked hard to make the voices of our community heard on a wide range of issues, from encouraging sustainable economic development to reducing the financial burden on working families,” said Halpin. “A strong middle class and a thriving economy go hand-in-hand, and it has been my priority in Springfield to push for policies that improve the situation of residents and businesses here in the Quad Cities.”
To spark economic reinvestment in the Quad Cities, Halpin introduced legislation that would create a new tax credit program allowing for a state income tax credit equal to 25 percent of expenditures spent on rehabilitating historic structures and properties along the Mississippi River. He further called for the addition of the Quad Cities to the current River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program, which provides tax incentives such as sales tax exemption and property tax abatement to help revive riverfront cities.
“Our community’s position along the Mississippi River makes us attractive to investment, but we risk losing investors to neighboring Iowa if Illinois is not doing everything it can to encourage revitalization efforts on our side of the river,” said Halpin. “My tax credit plans would give local communities a competitive edge when businesses consider expansion and job creation.”
Halpin also fought to crack down on corporations that pocket hardworking families’ tax dollars and then ship local jobs overseas. Halpin’s House Bill 4081 would impose tough financial penalties on corporations that outsource jobs without warning, and make these companies repay every penny they received from taxpayers.
“We should be rewarding businesses that create good-paying, long-term jobs here in Illinois, not those that are determined to offshore local jobs to increase profits,” said Halpin. “Families in our community deserve assurance their tax dollars are being kept here at home and used to invest locally.”
Halpin also supported legislation to provide tax relief for middle-class families, including a budget plan that creates a surplus to pay down old bills, without raising taxes. For the second time in as many years, Halpin worked with Republicans and Democrats to balance the budget. This bipartisan, balanced budget plan cuts Gov. Bruce Rauner’s wasteful bureaucracy and high-paid consultants to invest more of our finite resources in critical services like schools, the Department of Corrections, road projects that create jobs locally and opioid prevention.
Continuing to hold the line on taxes, Halpin backed Senate Bill 1437, which extends a personal income tax exemption that was scheduled to sunset at the end of the fiscal year. Without an extension, the exemption would fall from $2,175 to $2,000 on July 1, hitting struggling families with a tax increase. Halpin voted to block this increase; he also supported changing Illinois’ tax structure to make Chicago billionaires pay their fair share, which would in turn bring more resources to Quad-City communities and cut taxes for local families.
“It’s important that we protect working men and women from carrying a larger tax burden, proportionally, than the ultra-wealthy who are shielded by our current system,” said Halpin. “A fairer tax that puts more money directly into the pockets of middle-class families will stimulate our local economy, drive local business growth and create jobs here in our community.”