GEE AND URSULA

Gee and Ursula question King County’s mental health crisis response plan

Sep 27, 2022, 5:58 PM | Updated: Sep 28, 2022, 6:39 am
behavioral health crisis...
King County Executive Dow Constantine

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a new behavioral health crisis response plan that includes a network of five crisis care centers, investing in the recruitment and retention of the community behavioral health workforce, and restoring the number of residential treatment beds in the region.

King County residents will vote to increase property taxes to raise an approximate $1.25 billion for mental and behavioral health services, costing the median value homeowner more than $120 a year and would continue through the year 2032.

King County Executive bolsters behavioral health access with new, multi-level proposal

“I want to hear more because it is clear that our mental health system is almost nonexistent at a time when we are in crisis. The homeless crisis, drug addiction, mental illness, there aren’t enough services to keep up with the desperate level of need,” said Ursula Reutin, co-host of The Gee and Ursula Show. “It’s not just the lack of treatment beds. We’ve talked about how we don’t pay people enough to keep them in these extremely challenging jobs. So I understand the need for these crisis centers.

“But why, when we’re already dealing with record inflation, are you asking homeowners, once again, to raise their taxes to pay for this?” Ursula continued. “Why isn’t the county first making sure that its own financial house is in order before asking us to fork over more money?”

This tax proposal would be on the ballot in April of next year. If approved, the measure would increase  funding for behavioral health needs by 30% over the levy’s nine-year lifespan, according to King County officials.

“Every day, there’s a new tax. A little tax here, a little tax there. What about this tax? Did you know about this tax? How about this tax? Aren’t we tired of the dink-and-dunk taxes?” asked Gee Scott, co-host of The Gee and Ursula Show. “Why do we want to continue to be the state that does not pay income tax? There are a whole lot of billionaires here in the state. There’s a whole lot of big money here in this state. I wonder how much could happen if there was a state income tax.”

During the press conference, Constantine said at least a third of county jail inmates should be in some behavioral health treatment program instead.

“But mental health is something that we cannot see,” Gee said. “If I break my arm, or if you break your leg, you go to the hospital and you get fixed. But we can’t see the mental health situation that we have here. And it’s plaguing us in the worst way. So inaction is not acceptable.”

The proposal would also create apprenticeship programs and install access to higher education, credentialing, training, and equitable wages to support behavioral health workers.

According to county officials, residents wait an average of 44 days for a mental health residential bed.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell introduces $7.4 billion biennial budget

“I think it is completely legitimate and understanding that we, as taxpayers, want to know what is going on with our money right now,” Ursula said. “And are you being good stewards of our finances? And again, it’s not to say that what they’re outlining here isn’t desperately needed, because I do believe it’s desperately needed.”

King County Council is expected to vote by Feb. 2023 on whether or not to put the proposal on the April 2023 ballot. If the plan passes all the required steps, the tax collection would begin in 2024.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

housing...
L.B. Gilbert

Seattle housing cools as recession fears continue to linger

Seattle has had one of the fastest-growing housing markets in the country as tech giants brought in employees but the market has been cooling
16 hours ago
holiday lights...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

When is it ok to hang up holiday lights?

"Every time you decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, an elf kills a baby reindeer," said Spike O'Neill, guest host of The Gee and Ursula Show.
3 days ago
strike...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee and Ursula: Railroad strike averted, but at what cost?

The Gee and Ursula Show discussed the possibility of a rail strike and the contract that was forced on the railroad unions.
4 days ago
downtown...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

New crime data shows optimistic outlook for downtown Seattle

"If you were to go downtown, and I would actually suggest that you do, it is a big change. Big change from what we were seeing during the pandemic."
5 days ago
snow days...
Frank Sumrall

Should snow days for schools still exist?

Issaquah schools remained open today, but were delayed two hours Wednesday with buses on snow routes, according to the district.
6 days ago
tree lighting...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee and Ursula to host Seattle Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

The annual tree lighting ceremony in downtown Seattle this Friday has a new twist: Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin!
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Gee and Ursula question King County’s mental health crisis response plan