San Francisco Mayor Agrees To Avert $1.5 M in Proposed Cuts to HIV/AIDS Programs
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) has agreed to restore up to $1.5 million in proposed cuts to AIDS- and HIV-related services for the city's 2005-2006 budget, the mayor announced Sunday, the San Francisco Examiner reports (Eslinger, San Francisco Examiner, 6/19).
The cuts were proposed in March as part of a two-tier, cost-control plan that would reduce services for people with substance use problems, mental illnesses or HIV/AIDS. The cuts would have totaled as much as $25 million as part of an effort to help close a projected city budget deficit of $102 million (California Healthline, 3/29).
Mayoral spokesperson Jennifer Petrucione said the city's savings on workers' compensation costs made it possible to restore the funding. Newsom announced the new plan after discussion with Board of Supervisors Budget Committee Chair Tom Ammiano (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/20). Ammiano had opposed the cuts.
Newsom in a statement said, "Our action to restore these funds reflects my commitment to protecting services for our city's most vulnerable residents -- especially those suffering from AIDS/HIV. Despite the fact that we face yet another historic budget deficit, I am adamant about taking every step possible and finding creative ways to fund the services that needy San Franciscans rely upon."
According to the Examiner, the mayor's move to restore the funding partly comes "in response to objections by community members as well as several supervisors" (San Francisco Examiner, 6/19).
With the reversed cuts, the city's total spending on HIV/AIDS programs is now planned to be about $57.5 million, about $4 million less than the 2004-2005 budget (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/20). According to the Examiner, the restored funding will be available to 20 organizations that provide HIV-positive patients with a variety of nonclincial services, such as case management, risk education and treatment information (San Francisco Examiner, 6/19).