The Benton County Commissioners this week split their vote but ended up passing a sales tax that will reportedly be used to fund mental health and chemical dependency programs.

COUNCIL SPLIT VOTES 2-1

Commissioners Shon Small and Jerome Delvin voted in favor, while the newest Commissioner Will McKay voted against it.

A number of officials in our area say especially due to COVID, mental health issues have grown significantly.

In late 2020, work continued towards a new Behavioral Health Crisis Recovery Center planned for the county in Kennewick, and this new tax will go to fund it.

Commissioner Delvin said in his remarks because the area has grown so much there's a lack of chemical dependency programs, as well as mental health providers. A number of officials in our area say especially due to COVID, mental health issues have grown significantly.

The tax is $0.01 percent or would be one cent for every ten-dollar purchase, for a $1,000 purchase, ten dollars.  Delvin claimed the state has only given the county a certain amount of funding for these purposes, and more is needed.

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This would be an obvious reference to the lack of funding provided by the state during COVID towards mental and substance abuse help, as well as the lack of genuine business relief.  Much of Inslee's financial proposals have been targeted towards social justice and certain ethnic relief programs, according to GOP leaders.

The new tax goes into effect next July, and the proposed center would be located in the old Trios Hospital Building (formerly KGH) on Auburn in downtown Kennewick.

KEPR-CBS TV has noted as have others that Franklin County has not proposed any such tax for this purpose, at least not so far.

 

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