DrugsElection 2018FeaturedNews

Tax hike for Denver mental health and drug services makes the ballot

Author: Joey Bunch - August 22, 2018 - Updated: August 22, 2018

Caring 4 DenverState Rep. Leslie Herod, center, gathers with fellow Caring for Denver supporters Melanie Stritch and Dr. Carl Clark, president and CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver. (Photo courtesy of Caring 4 Denver)

A request for a 0.25 percent sales tax for mental health services and addiction treatment qualified for the November ballot in Denver Tuesday.

The measure is expected to raise $45 million to improve “the quality, availability and affordability of community-based mental health and addiction care,” said Caring 4 Denver, the group backing the proposal.

RELATED: Backers of Denver’s mental-health tax measure say they’ll file plenty of signatures

To get on the ballot, Caring 4 Denver needed 4,726 verified signatures from registered voters in Denver. The campaign turned in 10, 378. Denver Elections found that 7,029 were qualified petitioners.

Rep. Leslie Herod, who is running unopposed for re-election in her Denver district, is leading the Caring 4 Colorado effort.

“Caring 4 Denver Campaign will create innovative community-based mental health and addiction services for everyone in Denver,” she said in a statement.

The organization said Tuesday it has research from earlier this year that indicates 79 percent of likely Denver voters could support it.

“It is important to show the positive stories of people in recovery more than the negative side of addiction,” stated Gabrielle Rodriguez, who is featured in Caring 4 Denver ‘s #PowerTo campaign.

“Caring 4 Denver will make a difference for so many people and their families right here in Denver.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.