San Francisco Mayor Restores Up To $1.5M in HIV/AIDS Funds Previously Cut From FY 2005-2006 Budget
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) on Sunday announced he would restore up to $1.5 million in HIV/AIDS funding that previously was slated to be cut from the fiscal year 2005-2006 budget, the San Francisco Examiner reports (Eslinger, San Francisco Examiner, 6/19). The restored money will go to 20 organizations that provide nonmedical services -- such as case management, peer and treatment advocacy, and health and risk education -- to HIV-positive San Francisco residents, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/20). San Francisco Department of Public Health officials in March proposed as much as $25 million in budget cuts for fiscal year 2005-2006, including cuts in funding for HIV/AIDS services (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/29). Public objections and ongoing testimony about the need for more AIDS funding contributed to Newsom restoring the money, Board of Supervisors Budget Committee Chair Tom Ammiano said (San Francisco Examiner, 6/19). The city has lost millions of dollars in federal funding in the past two years, despite recording 1,000 new HIV cases annually (San Francisco Examiner, 6/19). San Francisco plans to spend $57.5 million on HIV/AIDS programs in FY 2005-2006, about $4 million less than the previous fiscal year (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/20). The city is expecting a projected $59 million budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year, according to the Examiner.
"While I may not always agree with the mayor, in general he has been has been sympathetic to the need for more AIDS funding," Ammiano said after meeting with Newsom. "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," Newsom said in a statement, adding, "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" (San Francisco Examiner, 6/19). Mayoral spokesperson Jennifer Petrucione said savings in workers' compensation costs allowed the city to reallocate money, while maintaining the city's general fund contribution to local programs at $10 million, the same level as the last fiscal year (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/20). However, Supervisor Chris Daly said Newsom is not being completely honest about the funding because some HIV/AIDS programs are still slated to be cut, the Examiner reports. "They're not making restorations, they're slightly reducing the amount of cuts," Daly said (San Francisco Examiner, 6/19).