The behind the closed doors state capital bill process finally came out into the open on May 24 when both the Ohio Senate Finance Committee and the Ohio House Finance held hearings on Ohio Senate Bill 343 and Ohio House Bill 687. Both committees heard testimony from Ohio Budget and Management Director Kimberly Murniecks. She testified that the State of Ohio was “well-positioned financially to support these capital projects,” and that State General Revenue Fund receipts were currently 12 percent above estimate for the year.
Budget passed Ohio Senate unanimously, and passed the Ohio House with only 8 dissenting votes
Unlike most legislation, the typical capital budget process moves quickly; this time was no exception, with the legislature taking only 7 days from the day it was introduced to passage by both chambers. Per the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the bill makes capital appropriations totaling $3.51 billion for the biennium ending June 30, 2024 (State Fiscal Year 2023 and State Fiscal Year 2024) and authorizes about $2.28 billion in new debt.
The bill makes capital appropriations totaling $3.51 billion for the biennium ending June 30, 2024 (State Fiscal Year 2023 and State Fiscal Year 2024).
Before this point, most of the work on the legislation was likely done via negotiations between Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, and Ohio House Speaker Robert Cupp (along with majority caucus staff and OBM staff). Last December, Ohio Senate Finance Committee Chair, Senator Matt Dolan, requested that any entities seeking capital assistance have those requests into Senators by March 18, 2022.
Agencies supporting disabilities, addiction and behavioral health gain $150 million in funding.
The legislation provides over $150 million for three major state health and human services agencies; Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, Ohio Department of Health, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services received the largest share at $92.2 million. Of this amount $36.7 million will be used for facilities operated by the department, $32.8 million will be used for various community capital projects and programs, $17.6 million is for earmarked community projects, and $5 million will be used to support the “establishment, expansion, and renovation of healthy programming spaces for middle and high school aged youth affected by behavioral health-related issues.”
The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities received $49 million.
The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities received $49 million with $25 million designated for providing “community assistance funds for the development, purchase, construction, or renovation of facilities for day programs or residential programs that provide services to persons eligible for services from the Department”, $22 million for state developmental centers, and $2 million for earmarked community projects. All the funds received by the Ohio Department of Health were designated for department information technology projects.
Capital budget process
Ohio’s state capital budget is typically passed every 2 years, and typically in the second half of an Ohio General Assembly. The thought being that members can use funded projects in their districts as accomplishments they can point to while running for re-election. The capital budget also is typically a bipartisan bill, with projects included in the districts of minority party members. The bill passed the Ohio Senate unanimously, and it passed the Ohio House with only 8 dissenting votes.
The bill passed the Ohio Senate unanimously, and it passed the Ohio House with only 8 dissenting votes.
As I have written previously the capital bill usually appropriates funds to other government bondable purpose projects called “community projects.” These projects are often high-profile projects in a local community. The redevelopment of Cleveland’s Public Square is a good example of a high-profile community project that has received state capital funds in the past.
Health and human service projects are often among the community projects funded by a state capital bill. In most instances the state capital funds make up a relatively small portion of the total project costs.
Twenty organizations seeking funding for community projects received it
During this most recent state capital budget process at least 14 Cleveland area organizations were seeking $14.6 million in state capital funding; ultimately 20 organizations (see below), including three health systems, were funded in this current state capital budget for a total of $6.3 million. Nearly all of the successful organizations retained outside lobbying assistance. Each of the successful organizations, and even those that were not successful, spent considerable time meeting with and talking with legislators and other policy makers. Pursuit of state capital dollars can sometimes be a multi-year effort.
|Bellefaire Jewish Children's Bureau||$1,000,000|
|Cleveland Christian Home||$700,000|
|Cornerstone of Hope||$50,000|
|Greater Cleveland Food Bank||$750,000|
|May Dugan Multi Service Center||$350,000|
|McDonald Women's Hospital||$200,000|
|MetroHealth Senior Health and Wellness||$450,000|
|Shoes 4 Kids||$175,000|
|Sisters of Charity Health System||$250,000|
|United Way of Greater Cleveland||$150,000|
|Vocational Guidance Services||$300,000|
|Walter Collins Veteran Housing & Senior Facility||$200,000|
|West Side Catholic Center||$150,000|
Health and human service organizations that want to seek state capital dollars in the future should start planning those efforts now.
As legislators return to their districts, now that they have been finalized, expect to see a lot of them at ribbon cuttings and grand openings talking up the state capital dollars that they have helped to deliver. Health and human service organizations that want to seek state capital dollars in the future should start planning those efforts now. A good place to start would be by seeking out the leaders of successful organizations to get their advice on being successful.