New York: Legislators Call for Restoration of $12 Million for AIDS Programs
April 3, 2003
Citing new statistics that more than 90 percent of New York women with AIDS are either black or Hispanic, minority legislative caucus members on Wednesday called on New York Gov. George Pataki to reinstate the proposed $12 million cut from an AIDS prevention program in his state budget. The New York Legislature was also urged to approve an additional $96 million for medicine to treat AIDS patients, as proposed by Pataki.
Although Pataki's $90.8 billion budget includes a nation-high $2.6 billion for AIDS funding -- and is a $288 million increase over last fiscal year -- AIDS activists say the state must spend more to curb what Joe Pressley, of the New York AIDS Coalition, called "an epidemic that continues to spiral out of control." According to the most current statistics from the state Health Department, there were 56,000 AIDS cases statewide -- 77 percent of them in New York City -- in December 1999.
"This problem will continue to exist unless we make it a priority to target those in need to fight this disease, and women of color are most in need," said Assemblymember Roger Green (D- Brooklyn), who chairs the state Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus. State Budget Division spokesperson Kevin Quinn said 80 percent of the $2.6 billion would be spent on minorities.
Pataki's budget cut $11.9 million in funding for the state AIDS Institute, which provides HIV prevention education and legal, medical and housing services for HIV/AIDS patients. The cut was meant to help shore up an expected $11.5 billion revenue shortfall for the fiscal year that began Tuesday. Stressing the point that Pataki increased AIDS funding by $300 million despite the largest budget gap in state history, Quinn said "no governor has done more to combat AIDS and HIV than Governor Pataki."
04.02.03; Seanna Adcox
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.