The yet-to-be introduced capital appropriations bill is scheduled for its first hearing in the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, April 12, as the General Assembly returns from a lengthy spring hiatus with plans for a busy week of work.
Possible committee votes also are for bills dealing with local hiring restrictions governing architects and contractors for public improvement projects,
The capital bill for fiscal years 2017-2018 will dominate much of the discussion in the first couple of weeks of the legislature’s return, with the measure being targeted for introduction and initial hearings in the Senate early this week.
While some details were still in flux as of Friday, the working total for the bricks-and-mortar measure has been about $2.6 billion, according to officials familiar with the discussions. That’s slightly larger than the last two-year bill, HB 497.
Almost a quarter of the appropriations, or about $428 million, are targeted to higher education facilities. That allotment reflects roughly a $24 million increase from two years ago.
While representing only a fraction of the total appropriations in the bond-backed measure, the funding for “community projects” is again expected to receive a lot of attention from lawmakers and local officials.
Planners say this cycle’s allotment will be less than the $168 million provided for arts, sports and other community projects in the last capital budget. The early planning number was about $150 million.
Despite the limitations, local communities again submitted requests that added up to a number exponentially larger than what the Kasich Administration and the GOP-led General Assembly planned to allot for such projects.
The last capital budget emerged only after all of the deal-making was complete and subsequently cruised through the legislature with no major changes. Officials said to expect a similar track this year, which could have the bill on the governor’s desk within a few weeks.