Commission To Vote On Mental Health Tax Hike

Feb 17, 2015

Credit SilverGryphon8 via CC

Bernalillo Commissioners will vote Tuesday night on whether to increase taxes and increase mental health care in the county.

The gross receipts tax increase of one-eighth of a percent would generate $15 to $20 million. At the top of a mental health care wish list? A crisis center where people could go to be stabilized and plugged into services, instead of being arrested and sent to jail.  

Lisa Simpson, who works on detention reform for Bernalillo County, says such a center would not only decrease the number of mentally ill people in the Metropolitan Detention Center, "but it also reduces the amount of time that law enforcement spends dealing with people in behavioral health crisis as opposed to dealing with crime in the community."

In the last election, 69 percent of Bernalillo County voters approved an advisory ballot measure on this tax increase.