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A vote for the continued support for 6-mill levy (LR-128, SB-85) would again help keep our most precious natural resources, our children, from looking for lower educational costs out of state. Some would like you to believe that 6-mill is a new tax and unnecessary. It is neither. It is a 70-year Montana tradition approved by voters every 10 years without increase. There is strong bipartisan support including both current U.S. senators and organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Farm Bureau.

Consider these facts. Nationally, student debt has exploded 131 percent in the last decade. Montana’s state colleges and universities received a substantial funding cut last year, while fees and living expenses went up. Without the passage of 6-mill, students would have to pay up to 18 percent more in tuition after an increase of only 17 percent over the last decade.

In the next ten years, 25 percent of Montana’s workforce will retire. Within one year of graduation, 80 percent of Montana’s graduates work for Montana employers, while our students enrolled out-of-state have a tendency to work in that state. Higher education builds a strong workforce which in turn creates a strong economy while providing ongoing research in many areas including agriculture, so vital to our area. We need to make sure Montana’s businesses and industries have the workforce to remain competitive locally, nationally, and internationally.

Vote for 6-mill and support our great colleges and universities while keeping our students in state. It just makes good Montana sense.

Jesse and Connie Barnhart

Broadus

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