Thrift Stores Aiding HIV/AIDS Treatments Keep Vital Revenue Flowing

Sacramento – California continues to make positive strides forward to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and to improve the quality of life for those living with this disease. Long-term specialized care can be expensive and prevents some individuals from seeking treatment. Currently, various nonprofit organizations have sales tax exemptions at thrift stores that enable more revenue to be directed to supporting services for people with HIV/AIDS. However, the sales tax exemption was set to sunset this year until Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) authored Senate Bill 1484 (SB 1484), sponsored by Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization Fiona Ma, CPA and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) that extended the sunset date of the tax exemption. SB 1484 successfully navigated the legislative process with bipartisan support and went to the Governor for his signature.

“For more than 20 years, the proceeds from this exemption have covered essential medical care for many indigent patients who otherwise would be compelled to seek medical care at county emergency rooms. We need to keep the revenue flowing by urging the Governor to sign SB 1484 to help direct more funding to medical services for some of California’s most vulnerable constituents,” said Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization Fiona Ma, CPA.

“I’m proud to have authored SB 1484 in order to provide much-needed funds for people living with HIV/AIDS. It is incumbent upon us as a society and state to take care of our most vulnerable individuals and help lower the cost of long-term treatment,” said Senator Ed Hernandez, the author of SB 1484. “Helping thrift stores generate revenue for the HIV/AIDS community is an innovative way to ease the costly financial burden on those needing care.”

"AHF has long committed to providing care for people with HIV regardless of ability to pay,” said AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein. “The longstanding sales tax exemption for our Out of the Closet thrift stores has helped fulfill that commitment, and SB 1484 will allow us to use that exemption to provide another 10 years of quality HIV care for low-income Californians.”

This unique approach to creating necessary funding was first enacted in 1996 and has been extended 3 times, the latest being AB 289 (Cedillo) in 2011, with a current sunset date of January 1, 2019. Vice Chair Ma was Speaker pro Tempore in the Legislature during AB 289 and actively supported helping these individuals receive help with treatment by voting to extend the sunset. She has been a long-time supporter of finding financing to create reasonable and affordable health care coverage throughout her tenure in public service. Showing the success of this program, each extension has been passed by unanimous, bipartisan support in both houses and signed by governors of both parties. Furthermore, each time legislation has been proposed, the sunset date has been extended, with SB 1484 creating the longest sunset period before the exemption expires, at 10 years. Creating a longer extension time ensures this significant funding goes uninterrupted for as long as possible and helping many more people. This sales tax exemption means a cost savings to eligible thrift stores, which will be directed to medical services.

Send your letter of support, email, or call the Governor at 916-445-2841 to urge him to sign SB 1484 to help keep funding flowing to medical services for some of California’s most vulnerable constituents.