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National News

Tax Cuts Threaten AIDS Efforts

January 15, 2003

Activists say that federal spending on AIDS could be cut due to the Bush administration's proposal to end personal income taxes on company-paid stock dividends to shareholders, and to speed up implementation of the 2001 Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, which also cut taxes and reduced tax rates. On January 7, President Bush proposed tax cuts that could cost $674 billion over ten years.

Leaders in Congress agreed to keep discretionary spending to $750.5 billion in the current fiscal year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay lobbying group. That means the appropriations bill that funds the federal health, labor, and education departments would be cut by $2.7 billion to $131.4 billion. Most AIDS funding comes from the federal government.

Ronald Johnson, associate executive director at the Gay Men's Health Crisis, said, "This is putting tremendous pressure on the discretionary part of the federal budget as well as putting overall health care funding in jeopardy." Last year, Johnson said, activists won Senate agreement for a "moderate increase" in the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act and a $100 million increase in funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Activists are calling for $162 million in new ADAP funding.

"The small increases that we had achieved in the Senate would be potentially wiped out," said Johnson, who also chairs the board of directors at the AIDS Action Council, which is composed of leading AIDS organizations.

The economic picture for the states is not much better. Many, including New York, are contending with budget deficits. And unlike the federal government, states must balance their budgets.

Most analyses see the Bush plan as very generous for the richest Americans while giving some benefits to the less well off, particularly families with children.

Some, however, believe the tax cuts are good for the economy. "A good economy helps all Americans and that includes gay Americans," said Mark Mead, director of public affairs at the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican group. "A healthy economy increases tax revenues and this gives money to do all sorts of important things."

Back to other CDC news for January 15, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Gay City News (New York)
01.10.03; Duncan Osborne

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.