Top House Democrat Greg Harris, new Exec. Dir., ARO, & Alliance Summit
Top House Democrat Greg Harris, new Exec. Dir., ARO, & Alliance Summit
CCAC eNews
July 2021
Illinois House Leader:  State In Right Direction 
CCAC would like to thank Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris who gave an update on the Illinois General Assembly’s Spring Session and other state government related matters at the July membership meeting.  Harris started his presentation by saying, “It’s been a couple of tough years for everybody, and we’ve really focused in state government on maintaining as an efficient and uninterrupted operation of government as we could during the pandemic and respond to the public health emergency.  As time went on we addressed the economic disparities and inequities that became clearer as the pandemic unfolded.” 
Illinois House of Representatives Majority Leader Greg Harris
Harris was particularly proud of the State’s fiscal stability.  “We’ve made great strides.  That isn’t to say we don’t have a long way to go, but we’ve made great strides.”  For example, the state’s backlog of unpaid bills is down from $17 billion to $3 billion, and most bills are paid within 30 days.  The State of Illinois has also paid a significant amount of federal debt and is making its pension payments in full.  Just days prior to his remarks, Moody’s and Standard and Poor gave the state credit upgrades for the first time in a quarter century.  “By doing these things we increased the structural position of the state by about a billion dollars a year for the next two fiscal years.  It’s been a very good year fiscally and we’ve made a lot of progress in righting our fiscal situation."
Turning to health matters Harris remarked that Governor Pritzker made decisions based on science, which has led to a low positivity rate of 1.7%.  Harris was proud that Illinois was one of the few states that exceeded President Biden’s goal of vaccination.  Speaking of business closures and the impact it had on the economy Harris said, “We saved a lot of lives in Illinois.  Our hospitals were not overrun; our morgues were not overflowing.  To me saving those lives was very important.”  Harris acknowledged the affect this had on many businesses but was confident history will judge that Illinois made the right decisions, especially compared to other states where the pandemic is still surging.
Harris also listed a multitude of programs that benefited from funding increases such as mental health and substance abuse, first responders, violence prevention funding, programs for teens, rental and mortgage assistance, a new class of State Police, foster families, healthcare workforce, business interruption grants, as well as investing in the State’s hospitality and tourism industry.  Harris also said there has been a lot of work to provide technical assistance to smaller community-based organizations that need help in accessing funding for their programming.   According to Harris there also has been significant investments in education funding to reduce the reliance on property tax funding.
A passion of Leader Harris has been improving the State’s healthcare system, and the pandemic brought the need for those reforms to the forefront of the General Assembly's attention.  He said, “Studies show that within just a couple miles away from downtown life expectancy can be seven to ten years different due to a lot of social issues but also access to healthcare.”  Harris detailed a lot of recent policy work such as allowing telehealth to continue and to allow healthcare providers to seek reimbursement for those services, and limiting prior-authorization requirements by insurance companies.  He also detailed recent prescription drug reform, and increasing wages for home and senior healthcare workers to stay competitive for talent.
Harris spoke of his responsibility to manage the election for a new Illinois Speaker and discussed how it was an unfortunate distraction from focusing on the very real issues related to the pandemic, but was extremely proud of the process the House Democrats used and enjoys working with newly elected Speaker Welch.  On a lighter note, when asked why he was chosen for this important task he joked, “Because I know how to count to 60!”
Update on Executive Director Search 
At the July membership meeting CCAC Chairman Greg Hummel announced that after a national search and lengthy interview process, the Executive Committee has extended an offer to the leading candidate to be CCAC's next Executive Director and the candidate has accepted.  In the coming days a formal announcement will be made public.
To welcome the new Executive Director, instead of a meeting in August, an informal virtual meeting for CCAC members only will be held.  Members should come with ideas for the new Executive Director on how to further CCAC's mission of "strengthening the city’s identity as a global destination and helping to set the right priorities for investment in both the Central City and the richly diverse fabric of Chicago neighborhoods."
CCAC Virtual Meeting with New Executive Director
To Be Announced Soon! 
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. 
Webinar via Zoom
Burnham Council ARO Webinar Huge Success
The Burnham Council held a special webinar with the Chicago Department of Housing to learn about the City's new affordable requirements ordinance (ARO), which they have rebranded as inclusionary zoning.  To see the webinar in full please click this link.  For a copy of the powerpoint presentation please contact Clint at
If you have ideas for future Burnham Council programming, or would like to learn more about the Chicago Central Area Committee (CCAC) and its work as a driving force in shaping Chicago’s growth, equity and quality of place on behalf of our fellow citizens, please let us know.
Return to In-Person Meetings!
In accordance with the recommendations in the Central City Recovery Plan which encourages Chicagoans to enjoy the Central City, CCAC is planning to return to in-person meetings starting in September.  All health guidelines will be followed, and this decision may change based on the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you are interested in hosting the membership either at your office or another location please contact Clint at
8th Annual Summit
The 8th Annual Summit on Regional Competitiveness will be held virtually Monday, October 18, 2021 to Friday, October 22, 2021.  This year's theme will be Regional Recovery, and will focus on the long-term plans for the Tri-State Region after the COVID-19 pandemic.  Confirmed speakers include the following:
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb
University of Wisconsin System President Governor Tommy Thompson
Federal Reserve Bank Senior Economist Rick Mattoon
A.O. Smith Corporation Chairman Kevin Wheeler
Purdue University Northwest Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships Matt Wells
Rexnord Chief Human Resources Officer George Powers
Building Owners Management Association (BOMA) Executive Director Farzin Parang
Manufacturing Renaissance Executive Director Erica Sweeney Staley
More information and how to register will be announced in the coming days.
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