Originally published July 31, 2011 at 4:00 PM | Page modified July 31, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Renew King County Proposition 1 for veterans and human services

King County homeowners and communities have received excellent value from a modest property tax levy that powers services for veterans, their families and others in need of help.

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VOTER approval of the King County Veterans and Human Services Levy in 2005 powered an array of programs to provide housing, employment, counseling and related support services.

In addition to helping veterans, their families and others get through tough times, the programs reduced the use of emergency services and saved money.

The demonstrated success of efforts to reduce homelessness and restart troubled lives is the reason the renewal of King County Proposition 1 goes before voters on the Aug. 16 ballot with broad political and public support.

Approval of the levy for another six years means homeowners will continue to pay 5 cents per $1,000 of assessment property tax value, or about $17 per year, according to county figures.

A unanimous Metropolitan King County Council put the renewal on the ballot, and numerous city councils have endorsed it, along with the Suburban Cities Association.

Communities have seen housing, employment and health conditions improve for needy residents, including more than 82,000 veterans, but the local governments also know that jail time is down, along with emergency-room visits.

Emotional and economic stability is reflected in dramatic decreases in the use of sobering services and psychiatric emergency services.

A program for incarcerated veterans saved King County 4,000 jail-bed days and more than $1 million in jail costs.

A mobile medical van helped more than 2,800 isolated and chronically homeless people. Providing timely care and attention not only improves lives, but eliminates expensive treatment in emergency rooms.

The Veterans and Human Services Levy has served as seed money that attracted other donations and funding. The levy's impact vastly exceeds the pennies a day it costs homeowners.

Dramatic changes in the economy in the past six years drained away alternative county funds for these programs. The county's human-services budget is virtually gone.

Proposition 1 represents an investment in community stability voters endorsed before and can confidently renew again. The Veterans and Human Services Levy delivers results.


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