Facing a grim fiscal environment despite the recent state tax increase, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proposed February 16, 2011 a $26.9 billion state general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2012 that cuts state HIV programs by 11%.
The Governors proposal consolidates four separate Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) HIV funding accounts into one, and cuts overall state funding by $3.48 million. The four funding accounts slated for consolidation are:
· HIV and Corrections ($1.94 million)
· Minority HIV/AIDS Prevention ($3.15 million)
· HIV/AIDS hotline ($355,000)
· AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and other HIV programs: ($25,43 million)
Total HIV funding of $30.88 million in FY 11 would drop to $27.34 million in FY 12. Budget documents released today do not outline how the $27.34 million would be allocated among the consolidated program areas, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
While consolidating the HIV budget could streamline programs, result in more targeted and effective use of resources, and improve outcomes, the overall funding cut is cause for significant concern. In addition, it is unclear how consolidated funds would be used.
In July 2010, President Obama released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which establishes ambitious targets to reduce new HIV cases, link more people with HIV to medical care, and reduce health disparities. Unquestionably, these targets will be even more difficult to reach with reduced state funding.
In coming weeks, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) will assess the impact of proposed reductions on HIV services in Illinois, and is committed to restoring proposed funding cuts. AFC will also examine the impact of the budget proposal on other program areas that help vulnerable populations, including housing and services for homeless individuals. AFCs 2011 Policy Priorities outline leading advocacy issues for the year ahead.
AFC urges advocates to attend HIV/AIDS Lobby Days on March 1-2 in Springfield to tell legislators the impact proposed funding cuts will have on their lives. Advocates can stay up to date on budget issues by subscribing to AFCs Online Action Bulletin.