CHICAGO - Gov. George Voinovich of Ohio yesterday signed into law a bill that calls for the issuance of $975 million of bonds for capital projects and eliminates most of a projected $250 million shortfall in the current state budget.
Voinovich lauded the legislature for its "spirit of bipartisan cooperation" that led to the introduction and passage of the bill last week.
The $975 million of bonding is included in $1 billion of capital improvement spending authorized by the legislation for fiscal 1993, which ends June 30, and 1994.
About $642.5 million of the special revenue bonds will be issued by the state's Public Facilities Commission for higher education and mental health facilities and environmental and recreational programs. The bonds will be payable from the general fund under a lease-rental agreement with the commission, which the governor chairs.
Herb Kruse, the assistant secretary of the commission, said he expects that most of the new bonding authorization will not be tapped for a couple of years. The commission still has about $425 million of previously authorized bonds to issue, he pointed out. When the commission does tap into the new authorization, Kruse said, the deals would be priced competitively.
The remaining $332.4 million of the bonds will be issued by the Ohio Building Authority for correctional, administrative, art, and transportation facilities. All of the lease-rental bonds will be payable from the general fund, except for $55.3 million of bonds, which will be backed by gas tax revenues.
Paul Goggin, executive director of the authority, said he expects to issue about $400 million of previously and newly authorized bonds over the next 18 months. He pointed out that the authority has the ability to issue about $300 million of bonds under previous authorizations.
Goggin said that there may be three or four issues in the $100 million range, and that the authority will send out a request for proposals to underwriters for each issue.
The budget-balancing plan signed into law by the governor calls for $50 million of spending cuts in the fiscal 1993 budget, primarily from the Department of Human Services.
About $190 million of revenues would come from the expanding tax base for certain taxes and from eliminating loopholes in other taxes, according to Paolo De Maria, assistant director of the state's budget office. The state will monitor revenue developments before addressing the shortfall's remaining $10 million, he said.