AIDS Foundation of Chicago to state legislators: don’t cut $4 million from HIV/AIDS services budget

AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and its allies in the public health field urge Illinois legislators to prevent major program cuts — including a massive $4 million cut to critical HIV/AIDS services for people in Illinois — by extending a temporary state income tax rate.

This month, Illinois state legislators are faced with the question of whether to make permanent a five percent state income tax rate, which was increased temporarily from 3.75 percent in 2011. Not doing so would decrease Illinois state revenue by approximately $1.5 billion in 2015, forcing sweeping and devastating cuts to vital services, including access to HIV/AIDS medication, support for mental health and developmental disabilities, housing, senior citizen care and more.

HIV/AIDS medication support through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program isn’t the only essential service that would be cut without this extension — funding for HIV testing, prevention services, linked care programs and outreach to young people in Illinois (where increases in HIV transmission are highest) would be significantly impacted by the $4 million cut.

If the current tax rates are not extended, state funding for HIV services will be cut from $25 million to nearly $21 million, according to an outline released by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. That would amount to a nearly 30 percent funding cut since 2011. Governor Quinn has strongly supported extending current tax rates to avert this and other devastating funding cuts.

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