State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, recently sponsored the MICRO Act, which stands for the Manufacturing Illinois Chips for Real Opportunity Act. MICRO sets up new tax incentives for manufacturers of eligible semiconductors and microchips, which have been in very short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials are working at all levels of government to find ways to address shortages in chip production, which mostly takes place in China and Taiwan. The measure was included and signed into law as part of next year’s state budget package.

Halpin worked closely with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association on the program, and its members are praising the project. Tek Pak President and CEO Tony Beyer said his business, which provides specialized packaging for microchips, could see great opportunities for growth if those manufacturers build in Illinois.

“We now look forward to seeing the state of Illinois grow as an economic powerhouse and a global center for microchip production and tech innovation,” Beyer wrote in a recent letter in a suburban Chicago newspaper.

Halpin been concerned about companies shipping jobs overseas for years. As a staffer for former congressman Lane Evans, “I’ve seen what happened when Maytag left Galesburg. This pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of our supply chains, and it’s past time to bring these jobs back to the U.S.”

“Chip shortages have affected all of us, from the cars we cannot buy to the electronics we cannot use. We know now we cannot be so dependent on this technology coming from another part of the world,” Halpin said. “The MICRO Act should incentivize manufacturers to seriously consider locating and expanding in Illinois, and I know the Quad Cities, Galesburg, Macomb and other communities here in west-central and northwest Illinois would welcome them.”