by Nicole Piscitani • March 9, 2024

The General Assembly has had lighter than usual activity this year and, based on the House and Senate planned session days, legislative activity will remain light.

One item that remains in flux is the capital appropriations bill. The Ohio House and Ohio Senate have approached the process differently this year than in the past.

During even-numbered years, the legislature typically passes a capital appropriations bill that will allocate funds for certain projects throughout the state. The preparation of the state’s six-year Capital Improvements Plan also occurs at this time. The Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) updates and maintains the plan based on recommendations it receives from the impacted state agencies. The state agencies submit recommendations to OBM, which works with the governor’s office to develop a preliminary capital improvement plan. House and Senate leaders work closely with the governor, and a capital appropriations bill is usually developed and passed quickly with little opposition.

The creation of this year’s capital appropriations bill is taking a different approach, with the House passing House Bill (HB) 2, which contains some capital appropriations, and the Senate passing HB 27, which also includes some capital appropriations.

The difference between the two chambers is further divided since the House incorporated $350 million of funds from the One Time Strategic Community Investments Fund into HB 2. This fund was created in HB 33, the general operating budget bill, and would allow a total of $700 million to be allocated. During the HB 33 discussions, there was an agreement that the House and Senate would each get to allocate $350 million to one-time projects of importance.

The Senate has indicated that while that was the agreement, coordination between the two chambers needs to occur before the Senate will approve the House’s $350 million one-time funding recommendations.

Regarding the capital appropriations incorporated in the bills that have been passed by House and the Senate, no further action from the opposite chamber has occurred on either bill.

The Senate has indicated that the capital appropriations bill, including the disbursement of the one-time strategic funds, will be discussed after the March primary. However, some capital appropriation items were included in HB 27 as passed on Feb. 28.

Both leaders seem firm on wanting to move the bill that passed out of their chamber, with House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) stating, “The House has remained very transparent about ensuring money is readily available for the beginning of the summer construction season, and we look forward to the Senate taking up Substitute House Bill 2 and adding their $350 million portion of the One-Time Strategic Community Investment Fund. We believe the sooner this is accomplished, the better for Ohio." However, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) made these remarks, “They've already voted for it. We've already voted for it. If the compromise is, well, let's just agree on a bill and pass it so we don't have to worry about that, that seems fine to me. If they have an objection to moving forward with the adoption money — they don't want to do that, they want to do it later — that's disappointing," he continued. "If they don't want to take up the governor's … what he'd like to do regarding the state fair … they don't have to. But I think we'd at least ought to agree on the things that we agree about."

HB 2 and HB 27 would make the following appropriations:

HB 2

  • $350 million for various projects using the One Time Strategic Community Invest Fund (click here for a list of the projects);
  • $600 million to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for the School Building Program;
  • $397 million to state-supported and state-assisted institutions of higher education;
  • $150 million to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to support the Local Jail Facility Funding programs, plus $100 million for the Large Local Jail Facility Funding
  • $400 million to the Ohio Public Works Commission for the State Capital Improvement and Local Public Infrastructure programs.

HB 27

  • $600 million to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for the School Building Program;
  • $196 million to the Ohio Exposition Commission;
  • $575 million to the Public Works Commission, for local public infrastructure, the State Capital Improvements Revolving Loan Fund and the Clean Ohio Conservation Program;
  • reappropriates, for the same purposes, all capital appropriations or reappropriations an agency has available at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2024 for the FY 2025-FY 2026 biennium;
  • increases from $15 million to $34 million General Revenue Fund appropriations for the Adoption Grant Program in both FY 2024 and FY 2025, and reappropriates for FY 2025 any unexpended, unencumbered balance of the FY 2024 appropriation.

The Ohio House and Ohio Senate do not have any session days scheduled in March. The Capital Budget will remain on hold until the chambers can come to an agreement.

Note: This information is current as of March 8, 2024.

Posted by Angela Penquite on 3/11/2024