Help on the Way From a Trio of Enacted Relief Bills
Relief is available for many Ohio businesses and service providers as the result of a handful of recently enacted bills that distribute mostly federal money received by Ohio to aid in the pandemic recovery.
Governor DeWine recently signed three bills that appropriate federal Coronavirus relief funds for Ohio businesses and others.SB 108 (Huffman and Romanchuk) and SB 109 (Manning and Rulli) passed in the Ohio House of Representatives on May 5 and received the Ohio Senate’s concurrence in House amendments on the same day. A week earlier, HB 167 (Oelslager) passed in the Senate without amendment. All three bills took effect upon their signing by the governor. The timing and distribution of funds depends, however, on the various programs and agencies involved.
SB 108 appropriates $125 million to the Development Services Agency (“DSA”) to provide fixed sum grants to bars, restaurants, and lodging businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. $100 million of this funding will provide bars and restaurants with grants in the amounts of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000.The size of the grant received by a particular bar or restaurant will be based on factors such as demonstrated loss of revenue and number of employees. The lodging industry will receive the remaining $25 million for grants in the same three amounts, but the size of an individual business’ grant will be based on factors such as demonstrated loss of revenue and occupancy rates. SB 108 also requires the DSA to determine if there are remaining funds from the October 26, 2020 grant authorization by the Controlling Board, and to distribute any such money to bars and restaurants at DSA’s discretion.
SB 109 appropriates $556.9 million for grants to businesses and child care providers impacted by the pandemic, as well as for food and other assistance programs, local fairs, and Ohio Veterans Homes. This bill was amended to add $250 million received from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan, but also includes federal money from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid programs.
The DSA will receive $180 million of this money, broken into three baskets. The largest is $150 million to add funding to the small business relief grant program the Controlling Board set up in October 2020.This money will be used to provide $10,000 grants to eligible applicants who applied before December 12, 2020 but whose requests were not funded. Another $20 million is for grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 to entertainment venues impacted by the pandemic. These awards will be based on factors such as demonstrated loss of revenue as a result of canceled events or performances. The final basket of DSA money is $10 million for $10,0000 “relief grants” to new businesses in Ohio opened after January 1, 2020.
The Department of Job and Family Services (“JFS”) will receive $319.2 million for a number of programs, including: child care providers such as licensed day-care centers and family day-care homes; child care staff and administrator stipends; direct care payments to licensed providers serving children who are eligible for publicly funded care; SNAP benefits for children; food banks via the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program; Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Programs; and the TANF Block Grant. Also included is program support for the following established programs: the Youth Services Program in the Educational Training Voucher Program, the Chaffee Independent Living Program, and the Bridges Program.
The Department of Developmental Disabilities will receive $50 million in federal funds for Medicaid Services including community-based waiver, targeted case management, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and developmental center services.
The Departments of Agriculture and Veterans Services will receive $4.7 million and 3.0 million, respectively, for local fairs and COVID Safety at Ohio Veterans Homes. These are both funded with state, rather than federal, money.
SB 109 also reappropriates amounts from Ohio’s share of federal CARES Act moneys, if they remain in the Coronavirus Relief Fund at the end of FY 2021, for expenditure in FY 2022. These funds must be used to cover necessary expenditures incurred because of COVID-19.
HB 167 appropriates $465 million to the DSA to fund emergency rental assistance in accordance with the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and guidelines provided by the U.S. Treasury Department. The bill appropriates an additional $100 million, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program, for the Department of Public Safety. This amount, which follows $45 million that was allocated for the same purpose in March 2021, is meant for COVID-19 response-related costs such as for personal protective equipment, personnel, and state/local Emergency Operation Center activation costs.
It is well known that most businesses suffered during the pandemic, and that entertainment venues, bars, restaurants, and lodging providers were among the hardest hit. Additionally, daycare and other child care providers were put under tremendous strain, as were many food relief programs due to increased demand. These three enactments, distributing generous amounts of federal dollars, will be welcomed by many businesses and service providers, and should aid in speeding up Ohio’s recovery from the pandemic.