The September, 2017 state Capital Budget Guidance memo released by Ohio Office of Budget and Management Director Tim Keen illustrates lobbying for the Capital Budget Community Projects has begun. A key question is what types of projects are actually funded based upon the recommendation of the Governor and passage by the Ohio General Assembly. The range of projects eligible for state capital budget Community Projects is based upon the state regulations and the state legislative process. Projects must be capital in nature and connected to a state agency either in the form ownership, partnership or through a joint use agreement. Community Projects includes initiatives built around agriculture, arts and museums, economic development, health care, infrastructure, parks, police and fire, social services, sports, telecommunications, veterans and workforce projects. Applicants for funding still range from local governments to university to community colleges and for profit and not for profit organizations.
The FY 2017-18 project types included for Community Projects saw the continued dominance by the arts community for museums, theaters, historical sites but the overall growth in the sector saw a dramatic decline of nearly $20,000,000 in funding. Project types that saw dramatic growth included infrastructure projects, including several parking facilities and a wide range of social service projects. The health care and social service industry in particular again secured a foothold with a number of Community Projects no doubt tied to the opioid crisis around Ohio while support for telecom, parks and workforce saw declines compared to the previous budget. Each state capital bill is different. The economy, government revenue flow and political leadership all impact the scale and scope of the capital budget bill and their Community Projects. Senate Bill 310, the FY 2017-18 capital budget bill, offers critical lobbying lessons for communities as well as public and private sector organizations planning to seek capital bill or other government funding.