Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker gave his first budget address on Wednesday, Feb. 20, which included level funding for HIV services in fiscal year 2020 (FY2020). Pritzker stated that his proposed budget is more austere than he would like, but it is the first step in a four-year plan to put Illinois back on the path of prosperity and growth for its people, communities, businesses and economy. The governor noted that the state faces a $3.2 billion budget deficit and a $15 billion backlog of unpaid bills.
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is relieved to see a budget that, for the first time in at least four years, does not cut the health and human service infrastructure. Specific to health and human services, most programs were either flat-funded when compared to fiscal year 2019 (FY2019) or saw modest increases:
AFC looks forward to working with the governor and the General Assembly to pass the revenue solutions needed to put Illinois back on the right financial footing, so that there is stable funding for services and programs needed to allow all Illinoisans to thrive and be their healthiest selves. AFC has long-supported the Fair Tax, which would move Illinois toward a progressive taxing structure under which higher-income people pay a higher percent of their income in taxes, while lower-income people pay less.
AFC’s President/CEO John Peller shared his own cautious optimism for the budget conversations in the coming weeks and months. “We are disappointed that the governor did not propose HIV funding increases to reach the Getting to Zero Illinois goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. We look forward to continuing the conversation with the governor’s staff and state legislators to ensure that Illinois is making smart and equitable short and long-term investments in HIV screening, prevention and treatment.”
AFC pledges to work with legislators and advocates over the coming weeks and months to advocate for a $1 million increase in the HIV Lump Sum and a $1 million increase for HIV funding focused on communities of color for FY2020.
AFC urges advocates from across Illinois to save the date for HIV/AIDS Advocacy Day in Springfield on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.