Halpin SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate approved a Fiscal Year 2024 budget, and State Senator Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island), released the following statement in response:

“This year’s budget fully funds our services residents rely on and does it without raising taxes. I have voted for a balanced budget every year I have been in office, and this year is no different.

“Most importantly, we have made responsible fiscal decisions that invest in the next generation. This budget increases MAP grants for low income college students by $100 million. It also increases funding for state universities, and increases our own Western Illinois University’s budget by over seven percent.

“Lastly, this budget brings millions of dollars in direct investment in local governments and non-profits right here in Western Illinois.”

HalpinSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Halpin advanced House Bill 301 through the Senate, marking a significant milestone in the expansion of the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program.

“If we want students here in Illinois to take advantage of our four-year universities, then we need to do something that actually makes it easier,” said Halpin (D-Rock Island). “This legislation is for working families who need just a little help paying for college and is a serious step in expanding access to higher education for Illinois residents, providing part-time students expanded opportunities as well.”

Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, The Aspirational Institutional Match Helping Illinois Grow Higher Education (AIM HIGH) has provided merit-based, means-tested student financial aid to first-time, full-time undergraduate students and transfer students who are Illinois residents attending any of the 12 Illinois public four-year universities. AIM HIGH-participating universities are required to provide matching funding for institutional awards for students who meet certain eligibility requirements, as well as those established by each individual university.

Senator Halpin’s legislation will do a few things, including making the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program permanent, increasing transparency in the program to allow more students to take advantage, increasing access for part-time students and making changes to the matching requirements for the public universities.

The changes to the matching requirement for institutions is based on the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants. Institutions with at least 49% of students receiving Pell Grants will now be required to contribute 35% of the grant amount, up from the previous 20%. Similarly, institutions with less than 49% of students receiving Pell Grants will now be required to contribute 70% of the grant amount, compared to the previous 60%. These changes will ensure that the AIM HIGH Grant Program targets those most in need, further amplifying its impact.

“We can’t just talk about keeping more students in-state for college, we have to do something and I believe that this legislation is a giant leap in the right direction to address this issue,” said Halpin. “The most important part was making this program permanent, allowing our public institutions and students alike to plan for the future.”

House Bill 301 passed the Senate on Wednesday.

Knox CountyGALESBURG – State Senator Mike Halpin and Representative Dan Swanson are honoring the life of Deputy Sheriff Nick Weist – who died in the line of duty – by passing a measure to memorialize parts of a Galesburg highway.

“Honoring the life of Deputy Nick Weist is a way to show our gratitude and respect for his sacrifice,” said Senator Halpin (D-Rock Island). “This memorial highway will serve as a constant reminder that speaks to his selflessness, and demonstrates we will not forget his sacrifice in serving and protecting the community.”

Knox County Deputy Weist lost his life on April 29, 2022 when he was struck and killed by a vehicle as he deployed spike strips during a vehicle pursuit of an armed subject. Deputy Weist had served with the Knox County Sheriff's Office for four years and previously served with the Mercer County Sheriff's Department and Aledo Police Department. He is survived by his wife, two children, mother, father, and sister.

A section of U.S. Route 150 from Galesburg to Alpha will be designated as the “Deputy Sheriff Nick Weist Memorial Highway” thanks to bipartisan efforts from Halpin and Swanson.

“It is with great honor and humbleness that we can recognize Deputy Weist’s sacrifices for his community and his county,” said Representative Dan Swanson (R-Alpha). “Designating in his honor the stretch of highway where he gave his life protecting the community is a small way of ensuring that we never forget his service and his sacrifice.”

The Illinois Senate approved House Joint Resolution 17 with bipartisan support.

DCEOSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity today announced the launch of the Blue Collar Jobs Act Tax Credit application for eligible companies. BCJA is a bipartisan legislative package designed to promote economic expansion and growth in Illinois by incentivizing construction projects. The legislation makes $20 million in tax credits available per year for eligible companies.

“Finally, we’ve got a tax credit that rewards blue collar workers rather than the guys in the corner office,” said State Senator Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island). “We want more business here in Illinois and we have the workforce to build them. I hope to see these businesses come to Illinois to help expand the economy, and to see our workers share in the incentives the state has to offer.”

The Blue Collar Jobs Act program supports large-scale economic development activities by providing corporate income tax credits to companies that make substantial capital investments in Illinois. The tax credits are based on the wages paid to construction workers employed on eligible projects. To be eligible, a company must be located in an Enterprise Zone or a River Edge Redevelopment Zone, designated a High Impact Business, or have an agreement under the Economic Development for a Growing Economy Program. Eligible companies may receive up to 75% income tax withholding credits for construction workers.

For more information about the Blue Collar Jobs Act Tax Credit, click here.

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Office Info

District Office:
1504 3rd Avenue
2nd Floor, County Office Building
Rock Island, IL 61201
(309) 558-3612

Springfield Office:
Stratton Office Building
401 S. Spring St.
Section C, Room J
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-4307