The 2018 election is right around the corner.  Voters have  no doubt spent much of the last year surrounded by all things election and for many, November 6 is marked with a sigh of relief—another year of election ads are behind us.

Despite the peripheral noise that envelopes the election, there are really important topics on the ballot this year.  We wanted to give you a quick run-down on two topics you’ll see on your ballot this year.  The first is a ballot referendum seeking to renew the 6 Mill Levy.

The 6 Mill Levy

We have policy under Education on page 7, lines 8.28 that states: We support the 6 mill levy for the support of our state colleges and universities.

That policy is pretty straight forward and allows us to support this referendum, but let’s talk quickly about why we support it.  First, a little background:

What is a mill levy?

A mill levy is a tax that is assessed to the value of property.  A ‘mill’ is $1 for every $1,000 in assessed value.  So, 6 mills equates to $6 for every $1,000 in assessed property value.  Mill levies are used by local and state governments to raise funds to cover expenses and fund education.

The 6 mill levy is used to support Montana’s university system.

Is this a new tax?

No.  The 6 mill levy is not a new tax—it’s been around since 1948.  Every ten years the 6 mill levy is back on the ballot for voters to either renew, or not.  It has been renewed every time it’s been on the ballot since its inception. 

What does the 6 mill levy do?

It provides support to eight Montana campuses.  In 2016-2017 it provided nearly 10% of total state funding for higher education.  Funds raised by the levy are deposited in the special revenue fund and are used for educational programs, not construction projects or campus expansion. It’s projected that the 6-mill levy will generate $20,890,000 for fiscal year 2020. 

The policy supporting the 6 mill levy has been in the MFBF policy book for many years and represents MFBF’s deep rooted dedication to supporting Montana’s University System and high quality education for young Montanans. MFBF values our youth and knows it’s crucial to keep them in-state, but also involved in agriculture. 6-Mill dollars support educational programs at campuses across Montana (including our Land Grant University) that specialize in engineering, diesel mechanics, welding, animal and range sciences, ranch management, agriculture business and economics, agriculture communication and more.  These degrees provide a direct link back to agriculture and rural Montana for graduates.

Information for this article was used from the Secretary of State and Montanans for the Six Mill.

Paid for by Montana Farm Bureau PAC. Liv Stavick, Treasurer, 502 S 19th Ave #104, Bozeman, MT 59718