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Ohio House Passes 'Christmas Tree' Bill With Wish List Of Projects

Ohio Statehouse

The Ohio House has passed a bill, SB 51, full of projects the lawmakers wanted approved before the end of the year. The so-called “Christmas Tree” bill includes millions of dollars for different repairs and developments, including at the Statehouse itself.

The Senate bill was originally crafted to help fund improvement projects along the Lake Erie shoreline. But amendments added by the House include $15 million for the new Columbus Crew soccer stadium and $2 million for upgrades and repairs to the Governor’s residence. 

State Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) voiced strong concerns against $20 million for the Statehouse parking garage, since it charges people to park already.

“So my curiosity is, why are the taxpayers being double taxed here?” Antani asked.

The Statehouse grounds operating agency, CSRAB, says the garage reserve funds are not enough to cover needed repairs.

By chipping in $15 million for the Crew stadium, which is planned for the Arena District in downtown Columbus, lawmakers said they hope to trigger “Modell Law” and prevent the team from leaving town in the future. The total price tag for purchasing the Crew and building the stadium is $645 million, which includes $100 million of city and county funding for infrastructure development.

The “Christmas Tree” bill now goes back to the Senate for a concurrence vote.