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Rep. Baker Votes to Allocate $42 Million in State Funds for Economic Growth, Community Development for Hamilton County

February 7, 2024
Rachel B. Baker News

COLUMBUS -  State Rep. Rachel Baker (D-Cincinnati) today announced that the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 2, appropriating $2B of state funds for economic development and community investments that will help drive economic growth and generate opportunities across Ohio.

HB 2 includes half of the $700M from the One Time Strategic Community Investments Fund (OTSCIF), funding that was set aside in the most recent state operating budget. Rep. Baker is excited to announce that Hamilton County will receive $42 million. 

“I am thrilled that this historic, bipartisan legislation has passed the Ohio House today, as it will bring almost $400 million to our higher education institutions as well as $600 million to our public K-12 school buildings through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission,” said Rep. Baker. “Additionally, this legislation included the One-Time Strategic Community Investment Fund. Fiscally responsible budgeting during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in this one-time surplus of funds, and the decision to put this surplus towards larger projects in our county allows the biennial capital budget to be used for smaller, more local community projects.  I look forward to continuing to work with local communities in my district to advocate for their projects during the capital budget process in the spring.”

The $42 million of OTSCIF funds will be distributed to several local entities, including: 

  • $22 million to the Hamilton County Convention Center District Development
  • $8 million to the Riverbend 2.0 project
  • $4 million to University of Cincinnati Health
  • $4 million to the Xavier University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Additionally, HB 2 includes $1.65B of capital budget funding for the following state entities:

  • $600M for the Facilities Construction Commission (FCC) to provide the state share of project costs to school districts participating in facilities projects overseen by OFCC.
  • $400M for the Public Works Commission to issue grants and loans to local governments for road and bridge projects, freshwater treatment and distribution systems, wastewater collection and treatment facilities, storm sewer systems, and solid waste disposal facilities.
  • $397.6M for state-supported higher education institutions to conduct construction of new facilities, major renovations of existing facilities, or basic renovations at public universities and their regional campuses and community colleges. 

“I also want to acknowledge concerns brought to me by my constituents regarding the Riverbend 2.0 project. I have begun conversations to learn more about the impact of this project and identify the areas within these concerns that I can directly address in my capacity as state representative. My main goal is to ensure that economic growth and development does not come at the expense of the residents in this community,” said Rep. Baker. “As I continue to advocate for local projects during the capital budget process and identify solutions to my constituents’ concerns, I am committed to putting people first.”

HB 2 now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.