Lawmakers Consider COVID-19 Funding Bill

Lawmakers Consider COVID-19 Funding Bill

COLUMBUS — State lawmakers continued work Wednesday on a funding bill to direct $350 million in federal money to local counties, cities and townships around the state. The funds became available through the CARES Act passed by Congress. It is designed to help local community governments offset the cost of COVID-19 related activities.

“What this bill does is it helps us appropriate that money, get it to the right people so we can get it to local governments and so we can do it quickly,” said Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek. Perales is a member of the House Finance Committee, which is currently hearing the funding bill.

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The State Senate has already approved the bill.

According to guidelines contained in the proposal, the money can only be spent on pandemic related activities. Funding must go only to counties, cities and township governments that have not already received direct prior financial support from Congress in the CARES Act. The city of Columbus and Franklin County, along with Montgomery, Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Summit counties have all received a total of $778 million. The state of Ohio has already received or is scheduled to receive a total of $4.3 billion from Washington through the same program.

Perales is hoping for quick passage of the funding bill in committee and then in the full House to ensure the money makes it to communities as soon as possible. “They need it. There is an extra cost out there and it is not looking to get any better anytime soon,” Perales said.