Belshe Asks Legislators To Consider Schwarzenegger Proposal To Fund West Nile Virus Prevention
Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Kim Belshe on Monday asked legislators to reconsider a vote that would reduce by 75% a proposed funding increase to address West Nile virus prevention, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/7).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in his revised May budget proposal called for $12 million to control mosquitoes in the state and prevent the spread of West Nile virus (California Healthline, 5/16). Under Schwarzenegger's proposal, the funding would be distributed to counties and regional pest control districts to increase mosquito control efforts in advance of an expected outbreak of West Nile virus.
The Senate approved the $12 million increase, and the Assembly voted in favor of providing $11.5 million to address West Nile virus prevention. However, the Legislative budget committee on Thursday voted 5-1 to approve $3 million for the effort after Sen. Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego) moved to reduce funding for the program by 75%.
Belshe said, "Mosquito control is our best defense to protect California residents from West Nile virus."
Assembly member John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), chair of the budget conference committee, said, "It is throwing money at an issue and then figuring out what to do with it. We have a multibillion-dollar deficit, and that is not how we're budgeting this year" (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/7).