Initiated Ordinance 301 in the 2018 Denver election: What to know about “Caring 4 Denver”

This is the one about mental and behavioral health care services.

Leslie Herod at the 2016 Democratic Watch party at the downtown Denver Westin. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Leslie Herod at the 2016 Democratic Watch party at the downtown Denver Westin. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Initiated Ordinance 301, known as “Caring 4 Denver,” asks Denver voters to increase the sales tax by .25 percent to raise an estimated $45 million to improve mental and behavioral health care services.

Here’s the language you’ll see on your ballot:

Shall Denver sales and use taxes be increased by $45 million annually, beginning January 1, 2019, and by whatever additional amounts are raised annually from a one-quarter of one percent sales and tax rate (25 cents on a $100 purchase) to be used to fund:

  • mental health services and treatment for children and adults;
  • suicide prevention programs;
  • opioid and substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery programs;
  • facilities and programs for those with mental health and substance abuse needs including: housing, joint efforts of first responders and mental health experts, and training for first responders; to reduce homelessness, improve long-term recovery, and reduce the use of jail and emergency rooms?

How would it work?

A 13-member board appointed by the mayor, the district attorney and the City Council president to administer grants from the fund to organizations working in mental health care, addiction reduction and other areas. No more than five percent of the funds raised would be used for administrative purposes. You can read more about it here.

Who’s for it and who’s against it?

State Rep. Leslie Herod is the main force of this citizen-initiated campaign, which has been endorsed by the mayor, the Mental Health Center of Denver,  the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado and many others.

The League of Women Voters of Denver said it has seen no organized opposition, but notes that sales taxes hit poor and low-income Denver residents hardest.

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election 2018