California Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Plan To Reduce State Spending Includes Cuts to HIV/AIDS Services
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Tuesday sent state lawmakers a plan to reduce more than $5 billion in spending that includes cuts to HIV/AIDS services, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rothfeld/McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 5/27). The proposed cuts include $55.5 million in California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program and other state Office of AIDS programs. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Schwarzenegger's plan would make HIV-positive people pay more for drugs, while HIV/AIDS programs such as counseling, monitoring and education would be reduced or eliminated. "We were expecting cuts, but this is much, much worse than what we were expecting," Courtney Mulhern-Pearson, policy and legislative associate for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, said (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/27).
Tuesday's plan follows a separate proposal to cut $16 billion in overall state spending that Schwarzenegger announced two weeks ago. Aides say that Schwarzenegger plans to propose an additional $3 billion in reductions by the end of the week to offset a projected $24.3 billion budget shortfall. "Behind every one of these dollars that we cut there are real faces," Schwarzenegger said, adding, "Even though those are tough choices, what is the alternative?" (Los Angeles Times, 5/27).