Billion Dollar COVID Relief Spending Bill Headed to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Early in the morning of December 15, 2022, the Ohio General Assembly as a last gasp for the Lame Duck Session passed a billion dollar plus COVID Relief Spending bill. This measure was required to allocate funding from the federal government given to the state of Ohio from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

ARPA Provides $350 B to help states, counties, cities and tribal governments cover increased expenditures, replenish lost revenue and mitigate economic harm from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The state of Ohio will receive $5.68 B in direct assistance from ARPA, Ohio Metro Cities will receive $2.24 B in direct assistance from ARPA, Ohio Cities & Villages will receive $810 M in direct assistance from ARPA, and Ohio Counties will receive $2.27 B in direct assistance from ARPA. The total assistance provided to State & Local Governments in Ohio is $11.01 B.

The majority of the State of Ohio’s ARPA funding was allocated as required by federal government guidelines that include over a billion dollars to Ohio’s K-12 schools.  However, the Ohio General Assembly allocated federal funding for several programs with the limited discretionary funding from the COVID relief award.  This funding was added to Ohio House Bill 45 and included funding for the following:

  • $100 M for rural hospitals;
  • $25 M for food banks;
  • $350 M for nursing homes to provide lump sum payments to nursing facilities for workforce relief payments;
  • $250 M for grants through the Department of Development’s water and sewer quality program;
  • $161 M in emergency rental assistance under the Department of Development;
  • $150 M for lead abatement, including no less than $20 M for Development’s lead poisoning prevention projects and the remaining amount to support workforce development for lead contractors;
  • $90 M for crisis care infrastructure expansion, with funding to be allocated regionally based on regional psychiatric hospital catchment areas;
  • $85 M to grow behavioral health disciplines at state colleges and universities and other initiatives to recruit and retrain those workers;
  • $50 M for the state of Ohio Fairgrounds renovation;
  • $75 M for Honda project infrastructure including local water and sewer upgrades; and
  • $25 M for workforce housing through Habitat for Humanity;
  • $40 M for workforce relief funding for assisted living facilities;
  • $30 M for workforce relief funding for hospice facilities;
  • $40 M for provider relief through direct care staff compensation at residential care facilities.

Ohio House Bill 45 also allocated $1.750 B for schools for a range of purposes permitted under ARPA, and $740 M for the state’s rainy-day fund.  The General Assembly likely with the support of Governor DeWine focused on education, health care and social services and much less so on major economic development programs such as the Ohio Brownfield Redevelopment Program, Ohio Broadband Program, and Ohio Building Demolition Program that were very popular in 2022 with local economic development leaders.