King County Council committee recommends tax proposal for increased behavioral health funding

A proposed tax to create funding for behavioral health in King County has received a key endorsement.

The King County Council budget and fiscal management committee unanimously recommended the tax during a meeting on Wednesday.

The Crisis Care Centers levy would raise $1.25 billion for behavioral health and create a regional network of five crisis care centers.

The funding would come from a nine-year property tax levy which would cost owners of a median-priced home about $121 a year.

>> ‘Inaction is not an option:’ King County leaders unveil $1.25 billion behavioral health crisis plan

According to King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office, there is currently no walk-in behavioral health urgent care facility in King County. Only one behavioral crisis facility with 46 beds is in operation for the county’s approximately 2.3 million residents.

The proposal also includes investments in recruiting and retaining behavioral health workers and increasing the number of residential treatment beds in the region.

After it was unanimously approved by the committee, the proposal now goes to the full council for a vote on whether to put it on a special election ballot in April.

If approved by voters, Executive Constantine would prepare an implementation plan for the behavioral health package by the end of the year. Tax collection would begin in 2024.