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April 2, 2024

Bill to Bolster Crime Victim, Behavioral Health Programs Passes House Committee

New tax would fund crime victims grant programs, public safety grants, and behavioral health services

DENVER, CO - The House Finance Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Majority Leader Monica Duran and Representative Meg Froelich to refer a measure to the ballot that would fund the Colorado Crime Victims Services, School Security Disbursement Program, and behavioral health crisis response system services by creating an excise tax on the firearm industry. HB24-1349 passed by a vote of 6-5.

“With this measure, Coloradans will have the opportunity to vote to fund critical crime victim services and school safety by creating a new tax on the firearms industry,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “Federal funding for the Victims of Crime Act will decrease in Colorado by 40 to 50 percent in the next year, leaving Colorado victims without housing support, legal advocacy, and other services that they depend on. This legislation would create consistent funding for crucial community-based services that help victims of violence and Colorado youth facing a mental health crisis so we can continue providing this life-saving support.”

“With nearly half of the funding for victims of crime disappearing next year, we must act now to ensure that safety net services are still available,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “We’re giving Colorado voters the opportunity to approve a tax that would provide necessary funding for youth behavioral health services and support for victims of violence to save Colorado lives.”

If approved by voters in the November 2024 election, HB24-1349 would create a new excise tax on gun dealers, gun manufacturers, and ammunition vendors beginning April 1, 2025. As amended, this bill would generate approximately $54 million annually. If approved by Colorado voters, the funds would be allocated in the following manner:

  • $35 million to the Colorado Crime Victims Services fund to administer grants,

  • $10 million to the School Security Disbursement Program cash fund for grant programs like School Access for Emergency Response Grant Program, School Security Disbursement Grant Program and Youth Violence Prevention Grant Program,

  • $10 million to the Behavioral Health Administration to provide crisis resolution services to youth experiencing a behavioral health crisis, and

  • Any remaining funds to the Crime Victim Services fund for additional grants to support crime victims and survivors.

Small businesses with less than $20,000 in annual retail sales and retail sales to peace officers and law enforcement agencies are exempt from this bill.

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