ALERT! LGBT Health Funding Absent from Executive Budget
It’s been a week since Governor Cuomo released his Executive Budget for FY13-14 and analysis of the plan paints a mixed picture for LGBT older New Yorkers.
In efforts to deliver a third on-time balanced budget, the Governor’s proposal closes a $1.35 billion funding gap through a number of measures, including cuts from public health and aging programs. While the Office for the Aging’s funding remains largely intact, a new mechanism that pools funding under the Department of Health (DOH) poses a threat to many LGBT health and human service organizations across the state.
The Executive Budget proposes to consolidate 89 separate health awareness and prevention programs into six competitive pools and to reduce funding for these programs by $40 million. This includes a cut of $10 million to the DOH’s AIDS Institute and the elimination of a line item dedicated to LGBT health and human services throughout New York. For more than ten years the state budget has included a line item of funding for the New York State LGBT Health and Human Services Network, which comprises more than 50 LGBT groups statewide including SAGE. Network organizations provide vital programs and healthcare services to more than 800,000 people in the LGBT community annually—from counseling and social services, to cancer screenings and tobacco cessation programs. According to the Empire State Pride Agenda, 70% of Network organizations have operating budgets of less than $1 million and 26% rely on state funding for more than half their operating budgets. Without specific funding delineated for these organizations, LGBT New Yorkers could see a dramatic cut in the culturally competent healthcare services provided by LGBT organizations in the coming year.
To help protect dedicated funding for New York’s LGBT organizations contact your local state representatives to express your concern or call the Department of Health’s Commissioner Nirav Shah (518) 474-2011. Let them know that our state’s LGBT organizations are leading the way in providing care for many of New York’s most vulnerable citizens and that dedicated funding for LGBT health has never been more important.