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Mental health programs healthy and wealthy

A voter-approved tax to fund new mental health programs in California is generating a lot more money than it was expected to. State finance officials say the tax will likely produce nearly half-a-billion dollars more this year than was originally estimated. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The tax was created when voters approved Prop 63 in 2004. The measure expands mental health programs, through a one percent tax on incomes that exceed $1 million a year.

Rusty Selix directs the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies. He says mental health providers are used to meager budgets.

Selix: It's very exciting. I mean the challenge is enormous because it's such a big change. But it's very inspirational, I think, you know, we're very appreciative of the fact that the voters agreed with us that this was something needed to be done.

Counties throughout the state have submitted plans for how to expand mental health services. The new programs are expected to kick in before the end of the year. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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