The $28.4-billion budget is an overall 2.7-percent increase from the current budget. Legislators have until July 1 to approve it.
Among the biggest changes to the budget are the proposal to privatize the state’s liquor and wine stores, to generate $1 billion that would be funneled into the public education system. The plan would also require all new state employees to enroll in a retirement plan similar to a 401(k).
Corbett’s proposal did not include any funding for the Department of Public Welfare’s former General Assistance funding, which was cut last year, eliminating cash stipends for impoverished and disabled Pennsylvanians, including some in the HIV/AIDS community. It also does not include the expansion of Medicaid, as recommended under the Affordable Care Act.
The budget allocated a total of approximately $108.3 million HIV/AIDS-specific programs, a slight increase from the current $102.4 million.
HIV/AIDS money in the General Fund jumped from approximately $87.3 to $94 million. Funding for AIDS Programs ($7.2 million) and HIV Care ($11.5 million) stayed steady, while money for AIDS Health Education rose from $2.4 to $3.1 million and funding for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS rose from $2.3 to $2.5 million. Funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program fell from $281,000 to $226,000.
On the pharmaceutical side, funding for AIDS Special Pharmaceutical Services stayed steady at $10.3 million, as did Ryan White funding at $34.5 million, while AIDS Pharmaceutical Rebate funding jumped from $18.9 million to $24.6 million.
Funds provided to the Department of Health for HIV/AIDS efforts decreased slightly from $15 to $14.4 million. In that pool, HIV/AIDS Surveillance money stayed level at $1.6 million, as did HIV Care funding at $6.3 million, while AIDS Health Education funding dropped from $7.1 to $6.5 million.