The California Legislature's budget includes $25.4 million for research, education and social services connected with acquired immunedeficiency syndrome--the burgeoning AIDS epidemic that has struck 11,000 Americans in the last four years, killing 5,500 of them so far. The amount is $15 million more than Gov. George Deukmejian requested, so there is some chance that he will use his line-item veto to knock out all or part of the increase. He shouldn't. AIDS is one of the most serious public-health crises in modern times, and it continues to grow. The government can scarcely spend too much money combating this plague and assisting its victims.
The Legislature's large increase in AIDS money was based on a report of the AIDS Budget Task Force, chaired by Assemblyman John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara), which recommended a wide variety of actions that the state should take. For example, in the area of research the task force recommended an additional $1 million for research at the University of California, $1 million for research at other institutions (which have not received grants before) and $2.3 million to make up for anticipated reductions in AIDS funding by the National Institutes of Health.
The Legislature's budget also would provide additional funds for public education and to broaden the Medi-Cal coverage for people who have the disease.