March 8, 2013
San Francisco officials are being urged to backfill millions of dollars in federal funding cuts to HIV and AIDS services. Due to planned reductions in the city's share of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act funding, the city will experience a $2.1 million cut to its AIDS programs and the loss of $1.88 million from CDC for HIV prevention in the 2013/2014 fiscal budget that begins on July 1. San Francisco hopes that it can absorb the $4 million loss with local resources.
District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener stated that he believes it is doable. In 2012, Wiener worked with AIDS advocates, his board colleagues, and Mayor Ed Lee's administration to restore almost $7.5 million in federal HIV/AIDS funding cuts. Wiener declares, "We are going to be working closely with the mayor's office to really try to make that happen. But nothing is guaranteed." Wiener has called for a special hearing before the board's budget committee, to take place the last week of March, where they will discuss this year's pending HIV cuts. Lee needs to present his proposed budget to the board by May 1; the final version is due June 3, with the board having until July 31 to adopt the budget.
In 2012, during the 2-year budget process, the city backfilled 50 percent of the federal HIV/AIDS funding cuts, or roughly $3.5 million, for the upcoming fiscal year. Due to the enactment of the federal sequestration cuts that took effect Friday, March 1, the full amount of the budget hit this year to the city's programs for people living with HIV/AIDS plus its HIV prevention programs remains unclear. It is estimated the total impact to San Francisco's budget will be $25 million because of the across-the-board 5-percent sequester cut in federal programs. In a press release, Lee stated, "I urge Congress to work with the president to stop these blunt cuts to our critical services in our nation's cities."
Because of the sequestration cuts, Wiener's office does not expect to know until sometime in May or June the total amount needed to backfill HIV funding this year. Wiener explained, "Depending on what the sequester cut is, it may raise the amount and makes it more difficult. But we don't have that information yet." The board's budget and finance committee hearing about the HIV cuts will take place Wednesday, March 27, at 1:00 p.m. in the legislative chambers, Room 250, at San Francisco's City Hall.