The Board of Directors of LWV Kitsap has joined Judge Jay Roof,
Judge Anna Laurie, CEO Scott Bosch of Harrison Medical Center and
many others to support a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase
for mental health and chemical dependency treatment programs.
The resolution passed unanimously by the board on Jan. 2 is below:
ENACT A ONE-TENTH OF ONE PERCENT SALES AND USE TAX IN KITSAP COUNTY
FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING FUNDS FOR PROVISION OF MENTAL
AND/OR CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY TREATMENT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES, AND FOR
THE OPERATION OR DELIVERY OF THERAPEUTIC COURT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
Whereas, mental health and chemical dependency treatment
programs and services have been shown effective in helping people
recover from behavioral health illness, thereby reducing human and
financial costs to society, and increasing the productivity of
individuals as members of our community, and
Whereas, such services are known to prevent and reduce costly and unnecessary involvement with criminal justice and court system, emergency medical care, shelters, and crisis services, and promote recovery for persons with disabling mental illness and chemical dependency by implementing a full continuum of treatment, including outpatient treatment, housing, and case management services, and
Whereas, the public mental health system, funded by state and federal dollars, does not have adequate resources to provide outpatient treatment to non-Medicaid eligible individuals, and
Whereas, current and forecasted funding does not provide the needed funds to establish and/or maintain therapeutic court programs shown to reduce crime, recidivism and support recovery, and
Whereas, decreased availability of less costly behavioral health out-patient services rapidly results in use of emergent and far more expensive crisis services, where these increasingly scarce dollars must be used to treat people in costly inpatient units and hospitals, an unnecessary toll in both human suffering and financial burden, and
Whereas, the Washington State Legislature adopted in 2005, Chapter 504 (E2SSB 5763) authorizing counties to fix and impose a sales and use tax in the amount of one-tenth of one percent (1/10%) to provide new or expanded mental health or chemical dependency treatment programs and services that include but are not limited to treatment services, case management, and housing that are a component of a coordinated chemical dependency or mental health treatment program or services, and to provide for the operation of new or expanded therapeutic court programs,
Whereas, 20 of 37 counties in Washington State have successfully enacted E2SSB 5763, in order to promote recovery for persons with disabling mental illness and chemical dependency, and
Whereas, the League of Women Voters of Kitsap is gravely concerned the loss of local, state,
and federal funds to our community has resulted in a diminished capacity to provide necessary behavioral health services for children, families, adults and older adults, and that the uncertain forecast for additional funding losses will result in an even greater lack of access to behavioral health care, compromising the health and safety of individuals and the community.
Be it known that the League of Women Voters of Kitsap stands firmly behind enactment of a sales and use tax increase and recommends adoption of this tax to help ensure mental health and chemical dependency treatment programs and services, with specific attention to provision of services through the county jail, juvenile justice system, children’s services and schools, county courts, inpatient and outpatient facilities, shelters and housing services for eligible, high need individuals.