CHICAGO - The Ohio legislature has passed a two-year $1.76 billion capital spending bill that would be financed mostly through debt sales.
The bill includes $1.73 billion of debt financing to maintain, build, and improve facilities throughout the state in fiscal 1996. Most of the debt would be issued by the Ohio Public Facilities Commission and the Ohio Building Authority, according to Paolo De Maria, assistant director of the state's Office Budget and Management.
The remainder of the capital bill would be financed with general revenues and other funds.
The legislature passed the bill with few changes, said Amy Brooks, a spokeswoman for Gov. George Voinovich. The bill was introduced May 24 by Voinovich after discussions with Senate President Stanley J. Aronoff, R-Cincinnati, and House Speaker Vernal G. Riffe Jr., D-Wheelersburg, De Maria said.
The House passed Voinovich's bill two days later and the Senate approved the bill Friday, with minor changes relating to the distribution of Department of Natural Resources funds. The House concurred with the changes on Tuesday, Brooks said.
Brooks said that Voinovich will sign the bill in one to two weeks.
The capital bill includes $594 million for higher education, $248 million for public works infrastructure, $193 million for rehabilitation and corrections, $170 million for the Department of Education, and $157 million for the Department of Natural Resources, De Maria said.
The debt plans include about $100 million for recreation and park improvements, De Maria said. Voters approved $200 million of general obligation bonds for such purposes in November.
Another $60 million bonds will finance a maximum security prison to relieve overcrowding that led to a riot at the Lucasville prison last year, De Maria said.
The bill also will provide $10 million for a sports complex in Cleveland, which received $15 million in the current biennium. The $10 million would be the last portion of public funds needed for the completion of the complex, which is being developed by the nonprofit Gateway Economic Development Corp.
Since 1990, the Gateway corporation, Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County have issued more than $300 million of tax-exempt and taxable debt for the complex.