New Mexico will direct $2.6 million to AIDS services
New Mexico governor Bill Richardson on Friday ordered $2.6 million in state funding to be shifted to the state's AIDS services to help restore some programs cut or eliminated due to a $1.6 million budget deficit this year and projected $2.8 million shortfall in fiscal 2005, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Because of the budget shortfalls, the state had stopped paying for some AIDS services, including dental care, mental health services, substance abuse counseling, transportation programs, and food banks. It's unclear where the $2.6 million to restore some of these programs will come from, but James Jimenez, secretary of the state Department of Finance and Administration, says most of the money likely will come from unspent funds for other health department programs. Health department officials say they also will look for other ways to cut spending, including the possibility of cutting administrative, overtime, and contract costs. The infusion of money would be a onetime, stopgap measure, administration officials say. And some AIDS programs in the state still may still face less drastic funding cuts in the coming year, they add.