DeWine Signs Capital Appropriations Bill: What’s Being Funded?

Governor Mike DeWine’s recent signing of the $6.2 billion capital appropriations bill promises to bring transformative changes across Ohio’s communities. This comprehensive package aims to enhance mental health services, recreational facilities, public safety, and workforce development.

The bill, which saw strong bipartisan support—passing 30-1 in the Senate and 90-5 in the House—includes $154.3 million for the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services. This funding will improve existing facilities and expand access, a priority for DeWine’s administration.

“Over the past six years, we’ve made great strides toward building our statewide system of mental health care,” DeWine said. “With this capital budget, we’re doubling down on this commitment.” The budget supports the renovation and expansion of six existing mental health hospitals and the construction of more recovery homes.

Recreation received a significant boost with a $377.5 million appropriation for the Department of Natural Resources, of which $289.8 million is earmarked for the Parks and Recreation Improvement Fund. DeWine stressed the importance of modernizing state parks, noting their role in conservation and local economies. Enhanced recreational facilities can increase property values and attract more residents.

The budget also allocates $13.5 million for projects at the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, Ohio’s first UNESCO World Heritage site. “Since receiving this designation, we’re now receiving four times as many visitors to the site, and this budget will help ensure visitors have the best possible experience,” DeWine said. Increased tourism can boost local economies, which may create more business for your local community and by extension, your agency.

Other historically focused projects include the Ohio River Museum, Fort Lawrence Museum, and Poindexter Village Museum.

The bill dedicates $150 million to community projects and $700 million to the One-Time Strategic Community Investment Fund, addressing local needs statewide. Speaker Jason Stephens emphasized the impact of local projects, particularly fairground improvements, on community pride. For insurance agents, these community enhancements can lead to increased business opportunities as local economies thrive.

Senator Stephanie Kunze noted the Senate’s focus on county library systems and road and water projects. “We funded over 20 VFW facilities that needed emergency roof repairs and other maintenance,” she said.

Public safety also saw substantial investments, including $178.1 million for the Department of Youth Services. DeWine highlighted the transition to smaller DYS facilities, which will be safer and provide better mental health support and educational opportunities.

The budget supports improvements to the Ohio Fire Academy and State Highway Patrol Crime Lab. DeWine noted the expected rise in DUI cases following the legalization of marijuana, emphasizing the need for improved toxicology testing. Enhanced public safety measures can lead to lower risk environments, and ideally fewer claims.

Education and workforce development received the largest investment. DeWine stated, “Without these funds, local communities would have to bear 100% of the cost of new school buildings. By providing the funding, the state continues to assist those communities.”

Husted pointed to the necessity of modernizing educational institutions to accommodate Ohio’s tech-infused economy. House Finance Track Chair Rep. Jay Edwards saw the 1,100 unique projects as workforce engagement opportunities. “This is going to put a lot of people to work,” Edwards said. “These projects will attract talent from all over the country.”

Husted emphasized Ohio’s apprenticeship model and the $300 million investment in career centers, creating 15,000 new slots. Despite workforce challenges, he remains optimistic. “We’ve continued to invest in our people and training. Ohio is leading on this.”

DeWine concluded, “We’ve invested in our people and training. This is a good problem to have, and I believe many projects will move forward successfully.”

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