California AIDS Funding Probably Won’t Be Restored
By Boyce Hinman

Actually, a lot more than AIDS funding probably won’t be restored. Hundreds of millions of dollars that had been appropriated by the state legislature, and then cut from the state budget by the Governor, will not be restored unless a recent decision by a California appeals court is overturned by the California Supreme Court.

Here is how this happened. In February of last year, the state legislature passed a budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 and the Governor signed it. However, it turned out the projections of state income, that that budget was based on, were too optimistic. Far less revenue was coming in and the state government was running up a large deficit. To remedy the situation the legislature passed a revised budget for 2009-2010. In this new budget bill the legislature re-balanced the 2009-2010 budget with a series of spending reductions and by moving spending authorizations from one program to another.

They also enacted some new revenue measures. This new budget included $15.6 billion in spending cuts. Many of the spending cuts were cuts to vital education health and social service programs.

The Governor signed the new budget. But, before he did so, he reduced spending in the budget bill by more than $488 million. He did so using his line item veto authority. His cuts cut even more deeply into the above vital services. For example, he cut an additional $85 million from AIDS programs.

In August of last year, Senator Darrel Steinberg and several other individuals and organizations sued in San Francisco Superior Court. They said that the Governor did not have the authority to make budget cuts on this new budget bill because it did not make new appropriations and simply cut funding or moved it from one program to another. They claimed the Governor only had line item authority with regard to new appropriations.

Steinberg and the other plaintiffs lost in Superior Court. That court said that the Governor had the constitutional power to use the line item veto as he did with the budget bill.

Steinberg and the others then appealed to the California First District Court of appeals. However, On March 2, in a unanimous ruling, the appeals court upheld the decision of the San Francisco Superior Court. They ruled that the Governor had the authority to make the cuts to the budget that he made.

Probably this case will be appealed to the California Supreme Court. But, at this point, the prospects for overturning the lower courts’ decisions appear dim.

You may see a copy of the appeals court decision by visiting the California Communities United Institute web site at: http://www.calcomui.org and clicking on “California State Budget” on the left side of the page. Then, finally, click on the following link on the right side of the resulting page.

California Appeals Court Decision On Use Of The Line Item Veto

The legislature has passed a bill (ABX8 1) which restores $3.5 million in funding for local AIDS prevention, testing, care, and support activities. The Governor is expected to sign this bill, but has not done so yet. However, even if he signs this bill it will restore only a very small part of what was deleted from the AIDS budget last year.

Boyce Hinman is the founder of California Communities United Institute and can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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