Funding local mental health and substance use disorder programs and services is an ongoing challenge. Although the federal government allocates money to support mental health care in the states, federal spending on public health has been eroded through funding cuts and budget caps. State governments haven’t done any better. However, over the past couple of decades, state legislatures have been empowering counties and municipalities to create their own revenue, whether through a local sales tax or property tax.
Sales tax in Washington State
Like many other counties in Washington State, Snohomish County adopted a 1/10th of 1% sales tax to support mental health and substance use disorders services. Since 2010, these funds have been used to support a range of direct and wrap-around services for six target populations: youth, families with children, veterans and their families, the aging population, the most vulnerable, and the most costly (i.e., high utilizers).