What the 6-Mill Levy Means for Montana
Montanans Decide: 6-Mill Levy Up for Vote in 2018
Billings – Bob Brown, former Secretary of State of Montana and veteran legislator says renewing the 7-decade mill levy for colleges and universities is critical for our state.
The 6-Mill Levy is a legislative referendum that has existed since 1948 and is voted upon once every decade. The levy benefits both 2- and 4-year universities and colleges across Montana. The levy does not in fact increase taxes to Montanans, but renews an existing commitment to Montana’s University System.
Former Secretary Brown mentioned that while the levy keeps costs down for students, the impact beyond just college students and university professors. In fact, 69% of Montana graduates work for Montana employers one year after they graduate benefiting multiple Montana businesses.
Furthermore, he says Montana State University has been a godsend for research. “Research has dramatically increased the productivity of the farmland in Montana. In 1948, when the six mill levy first went in to effect the average yield of dry land wheat was 20 bushels to the acre and in 2018 the average yield is 48 bushels to the acre. And that is due to University Research.”
Taylor Brown, former legislator and member of the 6-Mill Levy Speaker Bureau adds, “A lot of those graduates come back to our state because Agriculture is our largest industry. Even if a farmer doesn’t have a college degree, the people that he employs including the agronomist, the crop scientists do have degrees. Those people wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have a system to train them.”
The budget for the university system is ultimately decided by the legislature who approves the university system budget over a two-year budget. The money then goes to a board of regents, citizens appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. The board of regents is then in charge of reviewing and allocated dollars in the budget.
Carl Nystuen of DA Davidson and graduate of Montana State says the value of Montana State University and University of Montana have on main street Montana is huge, “The education we have here in Montana is critical and we should make it available an affordable for now and future generations.”
Critics to the Six-Mill Levy have questioned the liberal nature of education and opposed any taxes regardless of the cause. While the campaign admits voter margins have gotten tighter, they believe a majority of Montanans are informed about the importance of the levy and will vote again to pass it.
For more information on the Six-Mill Levy, please visit https://www.montanansforthesixmill.com/.