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.
Ohio’s Capital Budget includes over $6 Million for Cuyahoga County Health and Human Service projects.
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.
One of the most pressing needs during the pandemic has been for food, and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, May Dugan Multi-Service Center and University Settlement are seeking capital support to help address that growing need. It was hoped that demand might start to subside as the pandemic diminished. Unfortunately, that is not the case and demand has started rising again as federal aid ends, and surging food inflation steals money out of the pockets of low-income people.
Addressing racial equity, diversity and inclusion is increasingly a demand
This is the first state capital budget since the murder of George Floyd and what has been described by some as an awakening to the nature of systemic racism and its insidious effect on our community, state, and country. Because of that Community Solutions was interested in whether groups were thinking broadly about issues of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion as they developed their capital projects and proposals.
Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio wants to increase opportunity for women through their STEM project, saying “women are underrepresented in STEM fields. Even though women are 47% of the workforce they comprise only 28% of the workers in STEM fields. We say those are jobs for a Girl Scout.”
Local governments throughout Cuyahoga County are also likely to seek state funding for a variety of capital projects, these are often popular with state legislators. Other applicants will include Cleveland’s many arts and culture organizations.
Ref/Center for Community Solutions/Corlett