Pierce County Council Rejects Proposed Mental Health Tax

MENTAL HEALTH in old typesetter's blocks

by Andy Jones
December 31, 2016

In a surprise vote, the Pierce County Council voted 4-3 on December 13 against a proposed 0.1 percent sales tax increase to fund mental health and chemical dependency services in the state’s second largest county.

The vote needed a five member supermajority to pass.

Proponents for the tax estimated it would generate more than $10 million for services in 2017. About $1.75 million was to be alloted for a proposed new 120-bed psychiatric hospital in Tacoma, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

In rejecting the tax, the County also will almost definitely lose out on $1.5 million in state funding promised from the state legislature, if it approves the tax by July 1, 2017.

Tacoma already collects the tax, although Lakewood, Puyallup and University Place do not. Under a state law passed in 2005, cities of more than 30,000 people can impose the tax throughout the country if it hasn’t already been enacted, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

Pierce County is the only urban area in the state that hasn’t passed such a tax.

A video about the tax from Q13 Fox can be seen here