In mid-June, Ohio legislators approved the re-appropriation of funds for nearly $1.3 billion in already approved construction projects.
The decision will ensure the creation of thousands of jobs for building trades members across the state, including work for Sheet Metal Workers Local 24.
House Bill 481 funds a variety of construction projects for state colleges and universities, sports complexes and the arts.
Initially, the funding was in doubt as members of the House Finance Committee were discussing H.B. 670, which would have cut the spending in half.
According to The Dayton Daily News, uncertainty over the state’s fiscal future due to lost revenue and expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic led House leaders to call for every capital projected to be justified.
On June 4, the committee decided to shelve H.B. 670 in favor of Senate Bill 316, which re-appropriated almost $1.3 billion in spending on construction projects.
Eventually, language from H.B. 316 was added into H.B. 481.
In addition to the $1.3 billion in re-appropriation funding, the legislation will provide $350 million worth of federal coronavirus aid to local governments and authorize the sale of nearly two dozen pieces of state-owned property for various reasons. The legislation also grants the governor permission to freeze state workers’ pay for a year and allows townships to slash pay or institute furloughs for workers because of the fiscal crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The most important facet of this bill is the legislature’s understanding on the need to keep Ohioan’s employed.
If they had decided not to re-appropriate the full amount, tens of thousands of construction jobs would have been lost.
Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 thanks all members of the House and Senate, who supported H.B. 481.