California budget cuts threaten AIDS funding
AIDS groups in California have been asked by Gov. Gray Davis for their input regarding how to cut $20 million to $40 million from the state's 2002-2003 AIDS budget, reports the Bay Area Reporter. "Our biggest concern is to protect [the AIDS Drug Assistance Program]," said Dana Van Gorder, director of state and local affairs for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which was contacted by Davis. If ADAP cuts go through, Van Gorder believes that the state will be forced to implement a waiting list for the program or to restrict the drugs available through it.
California's 2002-2003 AIDS spending is budgeted at about $834 million, with more than half coming from the federal government. Its ADAP costs about $185 million per year, with California tax dollars paying for about one third of the cost. A final decision on proposed mid-term AIDS spending cuts is expected before the end of the year and will likely be presented to the state legislature in early 2003. The legislature is aiming for a total of $10.2 billion in mid-term budget cuts.