San Francisco Budget Plan Includes Proposed Public Health Cuts
On Monday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) announced a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year that will cut funding for the Department of Public Health by $48 million, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Newsom rejected a proposal to eliminate city funding for nonmedical services for HIV/AIDS patients in San Francisco but included all other cost-savings proposals from DPH (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3).
In November 2007, Newsom asked city department leaders to propose 13% cuts in their budgets to help address a projected budget deficit (California Healthline, 11/29/07). The deficit is now estimated at $338 million (Vega, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3).
Under the budget, the city's universal health care access program, Healthy San Francisco, is slated to receive an $11.5 million increase in funding from a state grant and employer contributions.
Newsom's budget proposal calls for:
- Allocating $29 million toward the proposed rebuild of San Francisco General Hospital, although the bond initiative will not go before voters until November (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3);
- Increasing funding for homeless programs by $10.8 million, largely for supportive housing services that include mental health and substance abuse counseling;
- Cutting $350,000 from Caduceus Outreach Services, which helps about 100 homeless people with severe disabilities access psychiatric services; and
- Using contract security guards at Laguna Honda Hospital instead of on-duty sheriff's deputies.
In addition, Newsom has asked unionized nurses and police officers to agree to unpaid furlough days, unpaid holidays or other pay cuts. Nurses and police officers negotiated $118 million in increases in compensation last year.
Unions representing firefighters and city managers have agreed to such provisions, but Newsom said that nurses and police officers have not.
The budget plan calls for eliminating 1,000 city positions, most of which currently are vacant. About 450 city employees would be laid off.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has until the end of June to adopt a budget (Vega, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3).