Health advocates, Democrats, and those who would benefit from a bill that would have included patients with HIV/AIDS in rent cap protections gathered outside of Governor Paterson's NYC office this morning to protest his veto. Many patients say they can't afford to pay high rents with their disability. Protester James Dean, who pays 62% of his monthly disability income towards rent, said at the rally, "Even though I’m in a rental assistance program, I’m constantly forced to rob Peter to pay Paul. One month I pay the gas and telephone bill and the next month I pay the light bill, all the while hoping that nothing gets shut off."
The bill would have included 10,000 city residents affected with HIV/AIDS in a program that caps the amount paid for rent at 30% of the person's income. And though Paterson called the action his “most difficult veto," members of the NYC AIDS Housing Network are calling Paterson short sighted. Director Sean Barry said in a statement, “Governor Paterson knows this bill would have immediately begun saving our state money by keeping people in their homes and out of HASA’s expensive shelter system...Tragically, he instead caved to misguided pressure from Mayor Bloomberg, whose administration utterly lacks credibility on these issues."
Christine Quinn called the veto a "terrible mistake," and asked Paterson to reconsider. She told the Wall Street Journal (paywall), "We cannot ask people with AIDS in the city of New York who we are legally responsible to house in these cases to live on $11 a day." Paterson has pledged to sign the bill if legislature made $20 million in other budget cuts, but Mayor Bloomberg stood behind his veto, calling it "difficult and wise."